U.S. airline passengers get electronic gadget OK

The Washington Post

Air travelers will soon be able to use their tablets and other electronic devices from gate to gate, the Federal Aviation Administration announced Thursday.

The agency said it has determined that airlines can safely expand passenger use of portable electronic devices during all phases of a flight, and it is providing guidance for implementation.

Although implementation will vary among carriers, the FAA expects all airlines to prove they can safely allow the gate-to-gate use of personal devices by year-end.

Under the new regulations, passengers will be able to read e-books and watch videos on their devices without having to turn them off during takeoff and landing. Instead of having to turn their cellphones off, passengers will be able to keep them in airplane mode, which prevents phones from being able to send or receive data, calls and text messages.

Phone calls remain banned by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC had considered lifting the ban before opting in 2007 to leave the rules in place. Electronic devices will still need to be held or put away during takeoff and landing.