Soon, within months, most airlines will allow you to read e-books, use tablets, and smartphones during take off and landing, as long as they are in “airplane” mode. This, due to the FAA loosening of the rules last week. Already Jet Blue and Delta are allowing electronic devices while taxing, and during take off and landing- Kudos to them – they worked fast to show the FAA their planes won’t be affected by the use of electronics below 10,000 feet.
Other airlines besides Delta and Jet Blue will still have to demonstrate that use of electronics during take off and landing won’t interfere with each type of plane’s navigational equipment. Flight manuals, crew training and safety briefings also need to be brought up to date.
The electronic gadgets were previously banned during take off and landing out of concern their signals interfere with avionics, but after in-depth research by a 28-member committee, the FAA concluded electronic use below 10,000 feet is OK.
Here’s what is still not allowed:
1) Use of cellphones calls throughout the flight – (Amen!)
2) Use of laptops during take off and landing – they need to be stowed because their size may impede any emergency evacuation. Tablets and smaller gadgets don’t have to be stowed.
3) Possible use on foreign airlines – they follow the rules of their country’s aviation authority.
4) Internet connection below 10,000 feet. And, as I mentioned, you need to keep your gadgets in “airplane” mode.
For those of you unfamiliar with “airplane” mode, it disables your device’s signal transmitting functions …. It is also a good idea to keep it in airplane mode if you visit a foreign country so you don’t incur roaming charges.
According to the Consumer Electronics Association, 99% of adult fliers carried at least one gadget with them on a flight last year. I would bet many of those who were parents traveling with children, that movie playing devices were popular.
The good news for parents is now the kids don’t have to turn off the movie early before landing – making it better for all passengers
TIP: If you are traveling with teens who are capable of downloading their own books or movies, remind them to do it BEFORE boarding the plane unless you are paying for WiFi, and even then they can’t access WiFi until 10,000 feet. That is something they might not think of. Yes, I am speaking from experience.
Reminder: Even though you can play your electronic games or read your e-books now during take-off, let’s still be respectful of the attendants doing their job and giving us safety instructions. Hopefully you will never need to use that floatation device or overhead mask, but it is still wise to know about them.