Gadgets have taken over our lives and these days we tend to feel strongly about being without them. One of the few places our gadgets are taken away from us is during take-off and landing when flying commercially.
These rules have been in place for years, partly due to the possibility of interference between wireless devices and the plane itself. However, today the FAA has officially approved the use of some electronic devices at all stages of a flight, including take-off and landing.
“Passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions. Electronic items, books and magazines, must be held or put in the seat back pocket during the actual takeoff and landing roll. Cell phones should be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled – i.e., no signal bars displayed-and cannot be used for voice communications based on FCC regulations that prohibit any airborne calls using cell phones.”
Around one month ago an investigatory panel officially recommended that passengers could use electronic devices during all phases of a flight, and today the FAA has given official approval. However, there will still be some limitations – mobile phones need to be put into airplane mode so that no network service can take place. We would imagine that the same would be the case for 3G/4G dongles, plus laptops, tablets and portable games consoles which have a cellular connection.
On the plus side, in theory you’ll never have to stop reading that eBook, listening to music or playing a game again when flying. Airlines will be allowed to create their own policies based on the FAA’s advice, so it may be a while yet before your favourite airline lets you start playing Candy Crush on take-off.