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Now Use Your Portable Electronic Device From Gate to Gate

We received the following news from this week, regarding the use of portable electronic devices on airplanes–and it’s great news for business travelers.

FAA allowing most electronic device use throughout flights

The Federal Aviation Administration will allow airlines to expand passengers’ use of portable electronic devices during all phases of flight, the agency announced today, but cell phone calls will still be prohibited.

Airlines are now being given guidance on the new policy, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said. Implementation will vary among airlines, the FAA added, due to differences among fleets and operations. But the agency expects many carriers to show that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year.

In a statement, the FAA said it reached its decision after consulting a group of experts that included representatives from the airlines, aviation manufacturers, passengers, pilots, flight attendants and the mobile technology industry.

Passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions, the FAA said. Devices must be held or put in the seat-back pocket during the actual takeoff and landing.

Cell phones should be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled – no signal bars displayed — and cannot be used for voice communications due to FCC regulations that prohibit any airborne calls using cell phones, the agency said.

If an air carrier provides Wi-Fi service during flight, passengers may use it. Short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards, can also be used.

“We believe today’s decision honors both our commitment to safety and consumers’ increasing desire to use their electronic devices during all phases of their flights,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “These guidelines reflect input from passengers, pilots, manufacturers, and flight attendants, and I look forward to seeing airlines implement these much anticipated guidelines in the near future.”

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