Passengers travelling on US airlines will be able to use portable electronic devices (PEDs) during take-off and landing by the end of the year.
The Federal Aviation Administration has confirmed that it is providing airlines with guidance on implementation, meaning passengers will soon be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos during all phases of flight.
Onboard wifi can also be used, as can short-range Bluetooth accessories, such as wireless keyboards.
In a statement, the FAA said: “Due to differences among fleets and operations, the implementation will vary among airlines, but the agency expects many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year.”
However, electronic items, books and magazines must be held or put in the seat back pocket during the actual take-off and landing.
Mobile phones must also be kept in flight mode or with the signal disabled and cannot be used for calls and for those who are worried about ending up in a seat next to a constant phone talker, the reality of passengers all making in flight calls may be further away than some anticipate.
In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation said it would consider its own ban on in-flight calls, looking at whether allowing them would be “fair to consumers,” according to a statement by Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. If approved, that rule would mean that any cellular systems the FCC allowed could only be used for data and texting.
Commenting on the PED news, US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said: “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.”