FAA to allow passenger use of iPhones, iPads & other electronics during all phases of flight

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced on Thursday that by the end of the year passengers will be allowed to use portable electronic devices, such as Apple's iPhone and iPad, from gate to gate as long as they are kept in airplane mode.

Hawaiian Airlines


The rule change will allow passengers to be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos during all phases of flight, including landing and takeoff, with very limited exceptions. Previously, passengers had to wait until their plane was at a high enough altitude -- 10,000 feet --?before they could turn on their devices.

The FAA will require that electronic items, books and magazines be held or put in the seat-back pocket during actual takeoff and landing. Cell phones must be kept in airplane mode or have cellular service disabled, and they will not be able to be used for cellular voice calls.The FAA's decision means that by the end of the year, passengers will be able to use their portable electronic devices in airplane mode during all phases of flight, with a few rare exceptions.

If a carrier offers Wi-Fi service during a flight, that may be accessed. In addition, short-range Bluetooth connections are also allowed.

"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," said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "These guidelines reflect input from passengers, pilots, manufacturers, and flight attendants, and I look forward to seeing airlines implement these much anticipated guidelines in the near future."

The FAA's advisory board recommended to the agency in September that they loosen regulations on electronic device use during flights. Critics of the previous regulations said the rules are baseless, pointing out that newer aircraft are adequately equipped to deal with interference that may be caused by a portable electronic device.

In response, the FAA put together a PED Aviation Rulemaking Committee, which concluded most commercial airplanes can tolerate radio interference from consumer electronics. It recommended that handheld, lightweight devices such as iPhones and iPads should be allowed for use in airplane mode at all altitudes, once an airline verifies the tolerance of its fleet.

airplane


A flight's crew can instruct passengers to turn their devices off in rare instances, such as low-visibility. The committee also recommended that heavier electronic devices should be safely stowed under seats or in overhead bins during takeoff and landing.

"I commend the dedication and excellent work of all the experts who spent the past year working together to give us a solid report so we can now move forward with a safety-based decision on when passengers can use PEDs on airplanes," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

The FAA on Thursday also provided passengers with a list of 10 things it says they should know about the expanded use of electronic devices on flights:
  • 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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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 31
    Happy about this one, mostly because it means that people won't have to play games down between their legs during takeoff as the guy across from me was doing the other day. Really don't understand why the concept of 'it's a rule, don't do it' is so lacking these days.
  • Reply 2 of 31
    Who didn't do this already??
  • Reply 3 of 31

    Hey, look. Something that has never been a problem, ever, for any reason, at any time, is now finally accepted.

  • Reply 4 of 31
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

    [...]

    The FAA on Thursday also provided passengers with a list of 10 things it says they should know about the expanded use of electronic devices on flights:

    Top Things Passengers Should Know about Expanded Use of PEDs on Airplanes:

    [...]


    • 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.

    • [...]

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


    I see laptops as potentially causing a lot of ruckus, especially netbooks and macbook airs.

    What's the difference between an iPad and wireless keyboard and a macbook Pro Rd with SSD?

     

    Number 10 will the cause of many of inflight outbursts by passengers.   WHY ME?  WHY NOT HER?  WHY THIS FLIGHT?  I WAS ALLOWED THE LAST FLIGHT?   

     

    Oh, and what is FaceTime over WiFi (I did that on Delta last spring)... is that "voice communications" and therefore banned on iPhones, but allowed on iPads and MacBooks?

    Or do they mean ?cellular telephone calls'?

     

    Things will get worse before they get better.

  • Reply 5 of 31
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rob Bonner View Post



    Happy about this one, mostly because it means that people won't have to play games down between their legs during takeoff as the guy across from me was doing the other day. Really don't understand why the concept of 'it's a rule, don't do it' is so lacking these days.



    Because rules are made to be broken.

     

    Actually, it's because it was an arbitrary and stupid rule, and the best way to get rid of arbitrary and stupid rules is to disobey them as frequently as possible.

     

    I really don't understand why the concept of "because it's a rule" is so slavishly obeyed by some people these days.  You're a human, not a sheep, stop acting like a sheep.

  • Reply 6 of 31
    Flight attendant
    "Excuse me sir...please show me that your phone is in Airplane mode"

    Passenger 57
    "Mamm the FAA clearly states that ...."

    "JUST SHOW ME THE LITTLE GOD DAMN AIRPLANE SIR!!"
  • Reply 7 of 31
    thomprthompr Posts: 1,511member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by StephanJobs View Post



    Flight attendant

    "Excuse me sir...please show me that your phone is in Airplane mode"



    Passenger 57

    "Mamm the FAA clearly states that ...."



    "JUST SHOW ME THE LITTLE GOD DAMN AIRPLANE SIR!!"

     

    Having the phone in airplane mode has always been a rule, even when above ten thousand feet.  And I have NEVER had a flight attendant ask me to prove my phone was in that mode.  And I travel a lot for business.  Nothing to worry about here.

  • Reply 8 of 31
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,688member

    It's about time. I've always ignored the stupid rule anyway, so it won't change how I operate.

  • Reply 9 of 31
    thompr wrote: »
    Having the phone in airplane mode has always been a rule, even when above ten thousand feet.  And I have NEVER had a flight attendant ask me to prove my phone was in that mode.  And I travel a lot for business.  Nothing to worry about here.

    I've always put my in airplane mode prior to this and they still told me to turn it off.

    Without fail Every time.

    I'd offer to show them and explain that it shuts down on radios and still tell me to power it off.

    Lol

    I'm curious as to how things will proceed now. The comment prior was just a joke.
  • Reply 10 of 31

    Well, the argument can be made that the very nature of a rule is because folks will think it is stupid, but needed.  Individual logic is not always better than group logic.

     

    I am sure that in certain situations harming another seems like a good idea, but after things cool down, probably not.  There is a reason it's against the law.

     

    I think this is a issue with society in general, we elect and appoint folks to do a job, and if they do something we don't agree with we ignore them.  No wonder it is tough to get intelligent folks to accept positions of power, since we don't listen to them anyway.

  • Reply 11 of 31
    I guess "voice communications" are whatever a flight attendant sees that looks like someone making a phone call, and a cell phone is whatever device being used in that case.

    Trying to do FaceTime Voice with an iPod touch or iPad and a headset is probably not going to fly, because, at least, a flight attendant would wish to avoid agitating other passengers who might believe someone is getting away with breaking a rule. On the other hand, there may be plenty of occasions when people "get away" with this and no one cares.

    The bottom line is passengers are required to follow crewmember instructions, and unfortunately those are going to be inconsistent from flight to flight, because humans.
  • Reply 12 of 31
    The "relaxing" part sounds OK. I am against cell phone usage for the same reason as on the ground: Too many talk so loudly they don't even need a phone! Can you imagine conversation in the whole plane going off, loudly, and most often about very stupid things (can you bring home some bread?)

    People who break laws like to break laws because they don't know or care about the reasons for them. Unfortunately, there are "power people" who make laws which serve no purpose except to the law maker--an ego trip person of the type who believes in those little signs inside cars which say "Baby on Board!"
  • Reply 13 of 31

    I really wish they would enforce headphones, I care more about that.  Seems that every so often I sit in front of the kids playing 'bleep bleep' or some loud game without headphones, mom or dad crashed.

     

    Yeah, airplanes bring out the best in me.

  • Reply 14 of 31
    A great shame - we now all have to listen to those loud-mouthed idiots who (they think) can not be out of touch with the outside world for a couple of hours.
    A great shame - those few hours that travellers could finally relax during a flight and not be pestered by those idiots at the office who (they think) can not be out of touch with their colleague for a couple of hours.
    BIG step back for all concerned.
  • Reply 15 of 31
    Not that you can always get cell reception flying over the middle of nowhere..but I'm glad regular calls are still not allowed.
    The less chance of me having to listen to someone sitting next to me yelling into their phone for an hour, the better.
  • Reply 16 of 31

    Que all of the people who think they know the rules better then the flight attendants. 

     

    Basically the FAA is allowing the airlines to decide on the use, not a blanket "they are now allowed" rule.   Flying is going to be more interesting for a bit just to see the commotion.

  • Reply 17 of 31
    Just imagine the cost of connecting to AT&T from 10000 feet...
  • Reply 18 of 31

    Quote:

     from gate to gate as long as they are kept in airplane mode


     

    Quote:


    If a carrier offers Wi-Fi service during a flight, that may be accessed. In addition, short-range Bluetooth connections are also allowed. 


     

    So as long as money can be made, we'll allow it? I thought safety was safety no matter the profit? Although the Gate to Gate probably means no Wi-Fi during takeoff and landing, but not clarified later in bullet #5: 

    Quote:

    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.

     

    Quote:

     "These guidelines reflect input from passengers, pilots, manufacturers, and flight attendants, and I look forward to seeing airlines implement these much anticipated guidelines in the near future."


     

    Read: 'We are allowing pilots to use iPads and consumers were outraged they could not use the same device, so we changed the ruling.' 

     

    Quote:

     A flight's crew can instruct passengers to turn their devices off in rare instances, such as low-visibility.


     

    iPads further restrict a pilots visibility how? 

     

    Quote:


     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.


     

    So pilots won't have *their* iPads on at this stage? *

     

    Quote:

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


     

    THANK YOU!! 

     

    *Again, these rules to not allow devices during flights are humorous at best. Is the FAA telling me that terrorist (enter NSA search) have a viable way to inhibit the aircraft by bringing onboard enough iPads? If so, why is the FAA addressing this and not addressing the root of the problem; that is, aircrafts are not capable of withstanding iPad interference. Although they might be addressing this offline. 

     

    I really hate stupid laws by uneducated people! 

  • Reply 19 of 31
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Rob Bonner View Post

     

    I really wish they would enforce headphones, I care more about that.  Seems that every so often I sit in front of the kids playing 'bleep bleep' or some loud game without headphones, mom or dad crashed.

     

    Yeah, airplanes bring out the best in me.


     

    Just ask the attendant. They will either move you or ask the parent to quite the child. Happened on my last flight. 

  • Reply 20 of 31
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by JPDLVMH View Post



    A great shame - we now all have to listen to those loud-mouthed idiots who (they think) can not be out of touch with the outside world for a couple of hours.

    A great shame - those few hours that travellers could finally relax during a flight and not be pestered by those idiots at the office who (they think) can not be out of touch with their colleague for a couple of hours.

    BIG step back for all concerned.

     

    A BIG step forward. Now we don't have to waste a couple hours in a cone of silence just because people need to sleep during the day. I'm hoping those 'idiots' will learn to sleep at home and not in the air. Glad that during the work day, I can actually WORK, or catch up on reading, or a movie, or a game, or relax if I show choose. Just as long as what I am doing is via headphones when there is sound. :) 

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