As cell phones have continued to become more and more essential to our lives in recent years, regulations for using phones while flying have remained as strict as they always were. It seems that the Federal Aviation Administration is ready to catch up a bit, however, as it has announced that it will begin to make these restrictions less severe.
The FAA states that with its new changes, most passengers will be able to use their phones in airplane mode all the way from take-off to landing, although this will depend on the particular plane and airline. While cell service must continue to remain disabled while in-flight, passengers will be able to have active bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections.
The FAA has provided a list of things to remember when it comes to the new guidelines:
Top Things Passengers Should Know about Expanded Use of PEDs (Portable Electronic Devices) on Airplanes:
- Make safety your first priority.
- Changes to PED policies will not happen immediately and will vary by airline. Check with your airline to see if and when you can use your PED.
- Current PED policies remain in effect until an airline completes a safety assessment, gets FAA approval, and changes its PED policy.
- Cell phones may not be used for voice communications.
- Devices must be used in airplane mode or with the cellular connection disabled. You may use the WiFi connection on your device if the plane has an installed WiFi system and the airline allows its use. You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.
- Properly stow heavier devices under seats or in the overhead bins during takeoff and landing. These items could impede evacuation of an aircraft or may injure you or someone else in the event of turbulence or an accident.
- During the safety briefing, put down electronic devices, books and newspapers and listen to the crewmember’s instructions.
- It only takes a few minutes to secure items according to the crew’s instructions during takeoff and landing.
- In some instances of low visibility – about one percent of flights – some landing systems may not be proved PED tolerant, so you may be asked to turn off your device.
- Always follow crew instructions and immediately turn off your device if asked.
It took us until the iPhone 5s, but we’re finally able to use our phones while flying.