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Expanded Use Of Devices On Planes
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Airlines passengers who travel in part because of cheap travel options, such as cheap airplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, and cheap vacation packages, will be delighted to learn that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has decided that airline passengers should be able to use their electronic devices gate-to-gate on planes to read, work, play games, watch movies, and listen to music.
Only cell phone use continues to be forbidden while in the air.
Implementation of the FAA’s new guidelines concerning more widespread use of electronic devices on planes will vary by airline. Each airline will first have to demonstrate to the FAA that their airplanes meet the new guidelines and that they have updated their flight crew training manuals, safety announcements, and rules for stowing devices to reflect the new guidelines.
Delta and JetBlue announced that they would immediately submit plans to implement the new policy.
Currently passengers must turn off their cellphones, tablets, and other devices once a plane door closes. Electronic devices are not supposed to be turned back on (except cellphones which are never supposed to be turned on while flying) until a plane reaches 10,000 feet and the captain notifies passengers that it is OK to turn on their devices.
Today all electronic devices are supposed to be turned off when a plane descends and not restarted until a plane has landed.
The new guidelines allow airlines whose planes are properly protected from electronic interference to allow passengers to use electronic devices during takeoffs, landings, and taxing. Most new planes as well as other planes that have been modified to enable passengers to be able to use Wi-Fi at higher altitudes should satisfy the criteria.
Connecting to the Internet for any reason such as surfing, exchanging emails, texting, or downloading data will continue to be prohibited below 10,000 feet. Passengers will be instructed to turn their devices to airplane mode at lower altitudes. Heavier devices such as laptops will have to be stowed during takeoff and landing because of concern that they might injure someone if accidentally dislodged from a passenger.
The Federal Communications Commission continues to prohibit cellphone use in the air in part because of concern that phones on planes flying at hundreds of miles per hour could strain the ability of cellular networks and to avoid electronic interference with cockpit equipment during takeoff and landing.
There are no confirmed reports of passenger electronic devices interfering with flight navigation devices.
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