Business travelers everywhere just breathed a sigh of relief. I mean we all know that closing your iPad case without turning it off or putting your smartphone on silent isn’t going to cause some catastrophic accident on a plane but now the Federal Aviation Administration has concurred according to the Washington Post.
Airline passengers can now use their electronic devices gate to gate to play games, read, work, watch movies and listen to music. Cell phone calling restrictions will still be enforced from the time the aircraft pulls away from the gate until the time it’s taxiing back to the gate. These new guidelines were released by the FAA earlier today.
This doesn’t mean that if you’re sitting in an airport right now reading techfaster.com that you can board the plane and use your iPad the whole way. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in a news conference this morning that how fast the new regulations are implemented will be according to each individual airline. Each airline will need to show that their fleets meet the new guidelines and that flight crew training manuals and rules for stowing devices to reflect the new guidelines have been updated.
Airplanes that are protected from electronic interference may allow customers to use their electronic devices in accordance with the new guidelines. Most new airplanes have this protection. Also, all airplanes outfitted with wifi for customer use inflight also have this protection.
Once the new guidelines are active on your airline of choice you will still need to wait until the airplane is above 10,000 feet to activate any kind of radio or link up to the planes in cabin wifi.
Many airlines have switched to iPads and tablets in the cockpit to eliminate pounds and pounds of airline manuals and navigation books. Since that conversion airlines and the FAA have been under fire to allow passengers to use their electronic devices. While the technology in the cockpit continued to improve, there are some airlines that still say “Pagers and PDA’s” when going over safety instructions.
While there’s no exact time frame for the new regulations, you can expect the nation’s biggest carriers Delta, United and US Airways to act quickly in an effort to appease their business customers.