Local News

Turn off portable electronic devices? Not any longer

airplane electronic deviceWASHINGTON — A voice comes over the airplane speakers about 10 minutes before takeoff. You already know what’s coming.

“Ladies and gentleman, please turn off and stowaway all portable electronic devices.”

But fear that interruption of your iTunes or Words with Friends no longer, travelers. On Thursday, the Federal Aviation Administration announced airline passengers can use portable electronic devices on all phases of the flight, from takeoff until landing. The new regulations mean passengers should be able to read e-books, play games and watch videos during all stages of the flight, from gate-to-gate.

Though policy will differ among airlines, the FAA expects many planes to allow passengers to use devices in airplane mode by the end of the year. The administration decided to change the rules after a group of experts found many mobile devices have little affect on plane operation.

Cell phones should still not be in service mode during the flight, the FAA said.

Officials with the FAA commended the decision.

“We believe today’s decision honors both our commitment to safety and consumer’s increasing desire to use their electronic devices during all phases of their flights,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.

The FAA offered these tips for people using electronics on a flight:

1. Make safety your first priority.

2.  Changes to PED policies will not happen immediately and will vary by airline. Check with your airline to see if and when you can use your PED.

3.  Current PED policies remain in effect until an airline completes a safety assessment, gets FAA approval, and changes its PED policy.

4. Cell phones may not be used for voice communications.

5.  Devices must be used in airplane mode or with the cellular connection disabled. You may use the WiFi connection on your device if the plane has an installed WiFi system and the airline allows its use.  You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.

6. Properly stow heavier devices under seats or in the overhead bins during takeoff and landing. These items could impede evacuation of an aircraft or may injure you or someone else in the event of turbulence or an accident.

7. During the safety briefing, put down electronic devices, books and newspapers and listen to the crewmember’s instructions.

8.  It only takes a few minutes to secure items according to the crew’s instructions during takeoff and landing.

9.  In some instances of low visibility – about one percent of flights – some landing systems may not be proved PED tolerant, so you may be asked to turn off your device.

10. Always follow crew instructions and immediately turn off your device if asked.

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