Portable electronics on planes

Airplane mode will still be required, and you'll have to pretend to pay attention to the safety briefing

The Federal Aviation Administration this morning at a news conference announced that (as expected) it has determined that portable electronic devices can be used not just above 10,000 feet, but during "all phases of flight." That means no more turning off your iPhones, iPads, e-books, e-readers, Game Boys, Kindles, BlackBerry, blueberry, strawberry — anything with an on/off switch that must be in the off position before the aircraft can push back from the gate.

You will, however, have to wait on the airlines to implement the FAA's guidance, which it expects to see happen by the end of the year.

Here are the broad strokes:

  • You won't actually have to turn off your electronic devices — not that everyone does so anyway — but you will still be expected to put them into airplane mode. And the FAA rightfully noted in today's news conference that there's no sense having your phone constantly check for a cell signal at 35,000 feet anyway — it'll just drain your battery.
  • You'll still be expected to not use your devices during the safety briefing.
  • Laptop computers will still have to be stowed for takeoff and landing.
  • You'll be expected to hold your phone or tablet, or stash it in a seat-back pocket during takeoff and landing.
  • You'll be able to use Bluetooth devices.
  • Phone calls are still not allowed.
  • Some flights — about 1 percent, the FAA estimated — will need to disallow portable electronic devices, usually in instances of low visibility. 

So, you'll eventually be able to read books and listen to music or play games or whatever while you're in the hour-long conga line at LGA — just not quite yet. That said, Delta today announced that it's ready for the change as soon as this week.

Regardless, it's a good day for passengers — and a bad day for the folks who have to edit those airline safety videos.

Source: FAA


Reader comments

FAA expands the use of portable electronics on planes


That's because we are cheapskates.
With Spirit I only expect a pilot and maybe 1 flight attendant.

But where else can you get round trip tickets from DC to Miami for less than $50?

That's probably business class, I'm always on the "cattle class" side of the curtain, where there is less and less space.

That's probably first class on an international flight. Trust me, US domestic flight first class cabins don't look that nice.

As I have said, the "no electronics on flights" rule may have started due to fear of interference, but it has lasted this long for a different reason. They just want you paying attention during takeoff and landing (the most dangerous parts of a flight) in case of emergency.

And to make you use their expensive services. If electronic devices where really that dangerous to aircraft taking off and landing. You wouldn't be able to use them even at the airport. Think about it. I'm a big aviation buff.

Posted via Android Central App

Hopefully there will be updates to the phones that will allow Bluetooth use in Airplane mode. Every phone I have had in the last 3 years shuts down bluetooth use in the airplane mode. It would be nice to use my bluetooth headphones or other devices.

Airplane mode shuts everything off, but once you enter airplane mode, you can turn wifi and bluetooth back on, without leaving Airplane mode.
At least, that's the case with my Nexus 7.

When you put your phone in airplane mode, you can manually switch on Bluetooth from the quick settings panel. Same goes for wifi.

I hate that it is called airplane mode. I wish it was just a button to enable/disable the cellular radio just like buttons to enable/disable wifi/bluetooth radios. And Just like wifi/bluetooth i wish the cell signal icon would just go away when disabled. Not turn into an airplane. Being on an airplane isnt the only time turning off the cell radio is useful.

This is great and all, but I think I'm about to lose it over this whole nexus kitkat thing... Ahhhhhhhhah

posted from a non ios device...

Interesting on an Android site, Phil mentions almost every OTHER type of phone in the article except Android. Just found it funny. For the record, my phone is Htc One, my tablet is ipad (though Nexus 7 is intriguing to me) and my laptop is an MB Pro. So no affiliation to one OS, again just found it funny.

Phil wrote it exactly like flight attendants say it during the safety presentation. One of the attendants on the PHL-ORD flight that I take all the time even does the "BlackBerry, blueberry, stawberry" line.

The question is when will I stop having to take out a mortgage for a rum and coke?

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