For those who have trouble being detached from their phones, we’ve got great news for you! The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that electronics — such as mobile devices and e-readers — can now be used on flights during takeoff, USA Today reports.
Before an aircraft reaches 10,000 feet, God help you if you even thought about whipping out your iPod, Kindle, or “Angry Birds” game before. You’d get a not-so-nice tongue lashing from an airline crew member. But now, through a decision made on Thursday, listening to music and using other electronic devices are now permitted.
Before the new rule can be implemented, airlines must show proof that device usage on the aircraft will not interfere with safe travels. For most of America’s airline fleet, electronics have been given the green light for use by the end of this year. Delta Airlines, for example, “already has preformed the required tolerance tests on all of its aircraft” and may be approved for mobile usage as early as Friday.
But don’t get too excited. You still can’t browse the web or talk on the phone. “Connecting to the Internet remains prohibited when the plane is less than 10,000 feet in the air. Voice calls also are banned during the entire flight,” USA Today adds.
The FAA Administrator, Mike Huerta, noted that they’ve finally discovered a compromise for the passengers’ desire to fumble with electronics and FAA’s safety policies. Flight attendants seem to welcome the new rule. There’s no need to police and reprimand passengers during takeoff and customers won’t experience separation anxiety from their smartphones. “[I]t will be a win-win,” said Laura Glading, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. “We’re frankly tired of feeling like ‘hall monitors’ when it comes to this issue.”
The question is whether these devices were ever really a threat to safety. “The prohibition against electronics began decades ago because of concerns about interference with cockpit communications and navigation equipment,” the newspaper says. Now that technology has become more sophisticated, it’s not as much of an issue.
“Electronics were never a proven hazard, but they were never cleared of risk,” said Chuck Cook, a JetBlue captain.”Cook said now airlines will demonstrate the devices are safe,” USA Today notes.