FAA Says Yes to Keeping Electronic Devices On Throughout Flights

UPDATE – Nov. 6: United is now onboard, too.

UPDATE – Nov. 4: JetBlue, Delta and American are the first airlines to allow use of portable electronic devices from take-off to landing.


As expected, the Federal Aviation Administration has now OK’d the use of electronic devices – from iPads to Kindles to smartphones – for use throughout flights including take-offs and landings but it may not be put into practice immediately. Note: Devices must remain in ‘airplane mode’.

Listen: Travel expert Rick Seaney on how this will work (and how it won’t).

Ban Expected to Lift by Year’s End

These ‘time-outs’ have long been the bane of passengers who complained about having to stop reading or playing games, and it’s long been the bane of flight attendants who took the heat for enforcing these regulations. However, before anyone attempts to use a device, they must first check with the airline. According to the FAA’s press release, permission will likely be given very soon as, “many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year.”

Take-offs, Landings

Clarification: As the Wall Street Journal reports, “many airlines’ Wi-Fi systems don’t function at [low] altitude, and if they do, it is up to the airlines to make the connectivity available.” The WSJ has an excellent Q&A on what is or is not permissible and you can see it here.

Still “No” to Phone Calls Anytime

Most passengers won’t have an issue with this: phone calls are still prohibited on all flights.


Published: October 31, 2013