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FAA Okays Gadget Use Throughout Flights


The years of complaints have finally paid off. Airline passengers will soon be able to use their portable electronic devices from takeoff to touchdown.

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday that it is changing its policy on tablet and e-reader use, and will now allow the devices to be used during the entirety of flights, as long as they are kept in airplane mode or have cellular service disabled. Passengers must also hold their devices or put them in the seatback pocket during takeoffs and landings. A policy banning in-flight voice calls was not changed, because that issue falls under the purview of the Federal Communications Commission. The FAA has posted an FAQ that provides more detail on some of the nuances here.

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

Implementation of the new policy will vary from airline to airline, but we should see passengers being allowed to use their devices from gate to gate by the end of the year.

The announcement follows a September FAA advisory committee report that urged the agency to allow travelers on commercial airlines to use their electronics during takeoff and landing.

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