On Halloween, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator Michael Huerta announced that airline passengers can use Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs: eBoooks, tablets, smartphones, music players and cell phones) during all phases of flight. So what does that mean for cell phone users?
You will not be able to make cellular phone calls. Each airline will have it own rules. The expanding of electronic device use should take place by the end of this year.
The FAA noted that:
- Passengers can read e-books, play games, and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions.
- Electronic items, books and magazines, must be held or put in the seat back pocket during the actual takeoff and landing.
- Cell phones should be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled with no signal bars displayed.
- If your air carrier provides Wi-Fi service during flight, you may use those it.
- You can also Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.
Wi-Fi use on airlines is usually a paid service through GoGo. GoGo has installed 2000 commercial aircraft with its in-flight connectivity solution. GoGo is partnering with Allstate to offer passengers 30 minutes of free in-flight Internet access on their smartphones during weekend flights.
The PED Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC) concluded most commercial airplanes can tolerate radio interference signals from PEDs.
In some cases of low visibility (1% of flights) some landing systems may not be PED tolerant, so you may be asked to turn off your device.
The FAA did not consider changing the regulations for the use of cell phones for voice communications during flight because it is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Cell phone use and voice communications are strictly prohibited.
The PED ARC did recommend that the FAA consult with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to review its current rules. Cell phones differ from most PEDs in that they are designed to send out signals strong enough to be received at great distances
The FAA expects that planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year.