The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has okayed the use of personal electronic devices (PED) during flights with a few caveats still in place. In the revised guidelines, passengers can read e-books, play games, and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight. Making calls while in the air is still prohibited. Wi-Fi services can be availed above 10,000 feet if the air carrier provides the facility. Use of Bluetooth also gets the nod.
The new ground rules are far more flexible than the earlier ones which required passengers to switch off all devices during take-off and while the plane readies for a landing. Electronics could only be switched on at 10,000 feet with the pilot’s go-ahead. Under the new relaxed guidelines, airlines may allow passengers to use the devices during takeoffs, landings and taxiing if the planes are properly protected from electronic interference. The individual airlines will have to determine which planes in their fleet can tolerate radio interference from PEDs. Due to this variance in fleet capabilities and operations, each carrier may implement these guidelines differently. The FAA has provided procedures for carriers to assess their readiness for these passenger-friendly measures. Get more details from the FAA press release at the end of this news post.
So, passengers will have to wait as changes to the present PED restrictions will not happen overnight. Hopefully, with the runways cleared and the guiding lights from FAA switched on, a more enjoyable takeoff should be on the cards sooner rather than later.