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FAA: airline passengers may use electronic devices during all phases of flight


We all know the drill. You're on a plane before takeoff, checking your email or perhaps watching a movie on your Mac, iOS or Android device. Before you know it, the captain announces that all electronic devices need to be shut off before takeoff. You grudgingly comply.

Thankfully, that drill will soon be a thing of the past.

The FAA announced today that it will allow passengers to use electronic devices throughout the entirety of a flight, from takeoff to landing. The only prohibited activity will be making calls.

The FAA has already begun supplying airlines with implementation guidelines and believes that most airlines will have the new rule in effect by the end of the year.

In a press release announcing the change, the FAA noted that its decision was based on "input from a group of experts that included representatives from the airlines, aviation manufacturers, passengers, pilots, flight attendants and the mobile technology industry."

"We believe today's decision honors both our commitment to safety and consumer's increasing desire to use their electronic devices during all phases of their flights," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in the press release.

In reaching its decision, the PED Aviation Rulemaking Committee determined that commercial airplanes, by and large, can handle radio interference from personal electronic devices. The press release does note, however, that exceptions may be made during "rare instances of low visibility."

As for which airlines will be first to adopt the new rule, Delta has already submitted its plan of compliance to the FAA while JetBlue has indicated that it will begin the process soon.

All in all, the FAA decision should make flying just a tad more bearable.

As a final note, bear in mind that the new FAA guidelines only apply to flights at altitudes over 10,000 feet.

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