The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Thursday that it will relax the current guidelines on portable electronic devices so that passengers will be able to use certain devices during takeoff and landing.
In a press release, the agency said that it has given airlines guidance on how to best implement the new standards. "Due to differences among fleets and operations, the implementation will vary among airlines, but the agency expects many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year."
With "very limited exceptions," the FAA said, "Passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight." The agency spent nine months consulting aviation experts, pilots associations, airline experts, and mobile technology manufacturers before they came to this decision.
Here are the "Top Things Passengers Should Know About The Expanded Use Of PEDs On Airplanes," according to the FAA:
1. Make safety your first priority.
2. Changes to PED policies will not happen immediately and will vary by airline. Check with your airline to see if and when you can use your PED.
3. Current PED policies remain in effect until an airline completes a safety assessment, gets FAA approval, and changes its PED policy.
4. Cell phones may not be used for voice communications.
5. Devices must be used in airplane mode or with the cellular connection disabled. You may use the WiFi connection on your device if the plane has an installed WiFi system and the airline allows its use. You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.
6. Properly stow heavier devices under seats or in the overhead bins during takeoff and landing. These items could impede evacuation of an aircraft or may injure you or someone else in the event of turbulence or an accident.
7. During the safety briefing, put down electronic devices, books and newspapers and listen to the crewmember's instructions.
8. It only takes a few minutes to secure items according to the crew's instructions during takeoff and landing.
9. In some instances of low visibility – about one percent of flights – some landing systems may not be proved PED tolerant, so you may be asked to turn off your device.
10. Always follow crew instructions and immediately turn off your device if asked.