FAA approves use of electronics during all phases of flight

Federal Aviation Administration expands passenger use of portable electronic devices to allow use for duration of flights.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that it has expanded passenger use of portable electronic devices, including game systems, to allow travelers to use their devices during all phases of flight.

The FAA said differences among fleets and operations means the implementation of this new use expansion will vary between airlines. However, the group said it expects many airlines will allow travelers to use their devices in airplane mode gate-to-gate by the end of 2013.

The agency said its decision to expand the use of personal electronic devices was based on input from experts in various fields of aviation, as well as the mobile technology industry.

The expanded use of devices means travelers will be able to read e-books, play games on systems like a 3DS or Playstation Vita, or watch videos on their devices throughout flights, though there will be "very limited exceptions," the FAA said.

Electronics must be held or put in the seat back pocket during take-off and landing, and cell phones must remain in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled. The use of in-flight WiFi is unchanged following this announcement.

"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," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement. "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 Aviation Rulemaking Committee determined that most commercial airplanes can sustain radio interference signals from personal electronic devices. However, the FAA said in "rare instances" of low visibility (about 1 percent of all flights), crewmembers will instruct passengers to shut their devices down during landing.

No consideration was given to changing the regulations regarding the use of cell phones for voice communication during flight, the FAA said, because this issue is controlled by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The FAA noted that current policies regarding use of personal electronic devices will remain in effect until an airline conducts and completes a safety assessment, gets FAA approval, and officially updates its policy. In addition, the agency said passengers should always follow crew instruction and immediately switch off their device if asked to.

For more on the latest smartphones, be sure to read GameSpot sister site CNET's extended coverage.

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Discussion

62 comments
tightwad34
tightwad34

I don't know why people had to complain so much before when they couldn't do this. I mean, you really can't wait the 5 minutes or so while you take off or land? I believe there's plenty of time while you are in flight to use your gadgets.

quidditch3
quidditch3

Well!!! I guess we will see death rates after "survivable plane crashes" with the number of people paying attention to safety briefings dropping from a handful to zero

shenhua1337
shenhua1337

From my experience with Lufthansa, Air China, LOT and KLM. They never let me use a phone as a game device no matter what part of the flight and no matter if it's in "airplane mode" (such a useless feature as it turned out).

In fact on few flights the on board "entertainment system" that I was simply sentenced to during a lengthy intercontinental flight was defective in that it either didn't work at all, froze mid flight or had headphones plug whacked.

So patience is one thing. Another is when airlines expect you to sit and do nothing for half a day on a plane with really nothing to do. And don't start with "bring a book", this ain't XVIII century anymore.

I'm posting this comment twice. Want to add to discussion the detail that many air carriers simply won't let you use any kind of electronic device no matter what part of the flight or what rules do they fall under.

Another thing is that say when you're on a flight with Chinese... the attendants will keep telling them to turn off their iPhones, while they will simply ignore them and keep taking pics or doing whatever they please xD but that's another topic...

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

I think the old rules should stay in force. There should be at least one situation in the world where mobile phones and shit aren't used. Everyday you see people still using their mobile phones while driving. Everyone seems to be symbiotically dependent on their portable electronics these days.

sortajan
sortajan

the use of smartphones, tablets, and handhelds should be banned if you're within fifteen feet of a stranger.

DrKill09
DrKill09

Now just bring back smoking, and disband the TSA, and MAYBE I'll take a flight.  Til then, I will stick to buses, cars, and possibly trains.

If I wanted finger fucked, I'd do it myself.  FUCK THE TSA! 

jyml8582
jyml8582

So what was the reason to prohibit the use of electronics during flight? Electronic gadgets had more interference back then?

ziproy
ziproy

Uhhh I kinda left my Gameboy color on when I flew back in the day cuz I was in the middle of a Pokemon Silver battle. The plane didn't crash if you hadn't guessed from me leaving this comment.

Now if you would stop groping me and small children before we get on the plane and i might consider flying again

hadlee73
hadlee73

Headline next year, "Pilot shuts down plane electronics due to interference with passenger gaming sessions" :P

korvus
korvus

"Electronics must be held or put in the seat back pocket during take-off and landing, and cell phones must remain in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled" Then what changed? This has always been the case every time I've been in an airplane...

fester420
fester420

Finally, I could have told them this years ago

GTR12
GTR12

This is basically ONLY news for USA, every other country I have flown in the people can wait 10 mins during takeoff and before landing to use devices, only in America are they that impatient.

toddx77
toddx77

I'm confused.  When I have flown I have pulled out my phone, tablet, vita, ds, and psp with no problem.  Even the safety videos say to keep all electronics turned off until take off is over then put device in airplane mode.  

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

About time.  They've known for years it doesn't do anything but have been too paranoid to allow it.

Mohjong
Mohjong

USA once again set rules and standards for the rest of the world to follow.

DKRises
DKRises

Wait... we had to turn off our devices during take-off? Looks like I've endangered thousands of people then.


Do you get charged with murder if the plane crashes, you survive, and the cause is determined to be from your cell phone interference?

sortajan
sortajan

@DrKill09 i've got nothing on smokers or being around smokers, but at the very least you could have some respect for people who actually don't want to be around smokers

MysteryJ0ker
MysteryJ0ker

@DrKill09 

No... You can go fuck yourself buddy on that one.  Like hell would I sit next to some inconsiderate prick blowing smoke directly into my face for 3-17 hours.

shenhua1337
shenhua1337

@jyml8582 The whole interference was one big bullshit. Would it be so easy to take a plane down they wouldn't even let you carry this on board. Anyone who believed that this was the REAL case was simply naive.

The reason was always much simplier - Why solve a problem when you can just BAN :<.

norabbitnofun
norabbitnofun

@jyml8582 They still (supposedly) have. On the ILS. But the ILS is only used in low-visibility conditions, so they make do with the interferences.

MXVIII
MXVIII

@Korvus85  What changed is you can use all your stuff. Of course they want you to put your electronics up during take off and landing, so they can brief you on the safety shit. Take off and landing are the most dangerous phases of flight. They want you to put your phone up for 5 freaking minutes so you can pay attention.

ad1x2
ad1x2

@Korvus85 The difference is you had to turn off your electronics during takeoff and landing; according to the new rules you can keep on playing, or listening to music instead of shutting it off.

shenhua1337
shenhua1337

@GTR12 From my experience with Lufthansa, Air China, LOT and KLM. They never let me use a phone as a game device no matter what part of the flight and no matter if it's in "airplane mode" (such a useless feature as it turned out).

In fact on few flights the on board "entertainment system" that I was simply sentenced to during a lengthy intercontinental flight was defective in that it either didn't work at all, froze mid flight or had headphones plug whacked.

So patience is one thing. Another is when airlines expect you to sit and do nothing for half a day on a plane with really nothing to do. And don't start with "bring a book", this ain't XVIII century anymore.

vault-boy
vault-boy

@GTR12 God damn, this might be the most pathetic excuse of xenophobia I have ever seen in my life. Your basically saying 'Fuck America for not waiting to use their shit when it does absolutely no harm to anyone! If they were a good country their airlines would be just as pretentious as ours!'. 

norabbitnofun
norabbitnofun

@toddx77 Right - so now you can play as soon as you sit, you don't have to wait until take off is over.

norabbitnofun
norabbitnofun

@DKRises I guess you could get charged. Now the good news is - I know a great deal about phopnes but I don't see how they could analyze that your phone caused the crash. Unless they had decided to record all phone RF activity before the crash happened. And even then...

plaintomato
plaintomato

@DKRises You're not alone. Even the crew allows it if they can - they do their best to look the other way if you are at all discrete about it, only telling you to shut down if you're being obvious. As long as they can pretend not to notice, they will.

Unless you are Alec Baldwin, then they are obligated to crack down on your ass.

korvus
korvus

@MXVIII I've always been able to use all my stuff as long as I kept it in airplane mode and not during the briefing or the landing.

MXVIII
MXVIII

@vault-boy @GTR12  It actually does harm peopl. Take-off and landings are where the most plane crashes occur, they want you to pay attention to whats going on, and the safety briefing. Nobody wants to die, because some fucktard was on their Ipad, while the lady was explaining shit, and now doesnt know what the fuck to do.

MysteryJ0ker
MysteryJ0ker

@vault-boy @GTR12 

Didn't you know? You have to practice alcohol abuse, arson when your soccer team loses and xenophobia to qualify for European membership.

WantYouBad
WantYouBad

@BarraKas Envious is the better word for it, The US has already affected every other country in the world via entertainment. Our culture, morals, actions, attributes, and style has neatly grown in every other country in the world.


Why look at that, you're speaking English, using an American website, and let me guess, using an American device?

toddx77
toddx77

@BarraKas Actually from my travels, which is limited, American's are not as hated as the media wants us to believe.  I remember back when I was in high school and Bush was president all I heard  was how all of the word hates America and we couldn't travel anywhere.  Well everywhere I have traveled likes Americans and everyone was very nice to me.  Maybe political people who believe everything the network news and politicians tell them think all Americans are bad,but to people who can think for themselves they know you can't judge a countries people based on what their leaders who people in high positions do.

veryDERPY
veryDERPY

@BarraKas hmm...check your country's movie ranking. the song topping your charts. the country you're talking about...us

RoyialNetwork
RoyialNetwork

@BarraKas That is really cool that you speak for the entire world. Hopefully you don't say anything dumb. That would be quite embarrassing.

MXVIII
MXVIII

@Korvus85 @MXVIII  Yeah nobody really cared, but they were never approved by the FAA< I know you;ve never actually looked at the little booklet in your seat fron pocket, but if you did, youd see that cell phones were not allowed "EVER" This news really doesnt affect anybody, because again nobody really cared. Its just on paper now.

korvus
korvus

@MXVIII I've always played on my iPhone and that was never a problem. They actually say "keep your cell phones in airplane mode but keep it away during take-off and landing. We will let you know when it's allowed to use them"

MXVIII
MXVIII

@Korvus85 @MXVIII  Actually your'e not. Every Airline Ive been on, only allowed you to use "Approved" Devices, and Cell phones were never approved regardless of whether they were on Airplane mode or not. Most flight attendants wouldnt really say anything to you though., unless of course you had it out during take offs and landings.

MXVIII
MXVIII

@SnakeSoldier @WantYouBad  Well its about half and half really. If you go to The common Wealth Countries or China, they'll generally Speak Oxford English, but if you go to the Islands, Japan, South America, and Central America, its all American English. 

SnakeSoldier
SnakeSoldier

@WantYouBad Yes, the majority of the world speaks English because of the US. Not because of, perhaps, the fact that the British Empire spanned a good portion of the globe at one point. No.... couldn't possibly be that?

WantYouBad
WantYouBad

@Daemoroth @WantYouBad @BarraKas Only in America are you allowed to openly hate your country as much as you want and you're cool for doing it.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

@WantYouBad @BarraKas I wish! Australia's ratings board needs to take a lesson from NZ, just copy US ratings and stop the asshattery!!!

che5ter666
che5ter666

@toddx77 @BarraKas Everywhere I have travelled in the world, everyone seems to like the British. So I'm fine with the fact that I'm welcomed countries. I personally do not have ANY issues with the USA. In fact I'm looking to travel there next year. However, I do understand where some haters are coming from.