The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that it would drop existing restrictions on the use of personal electronics during takeoff and landing, urging airlines to implement the changes on their own timelines.
This means that flyers will soon be able to use their phones, tablets, e-readers, and other gadgets at all stages of the flight, as long as they are set to Airplane Mode.
Last month, as T+L reported, a committee set up by the FAA urged the administration to reconsider the current restrictions, finding them unnecessary from a safety perspective. Originally set in place to prevent electronic devices from interfering with a plane's equipment, the restrictions have come under scrutiny after experts concluded such fears of interference are groundless.
Airlines must now demonstrate to the FAA that their planes can operate safely with personal electronic devices (PEDs). Delta Air Lines has already submitted its PED tolerance testing to the FAA, hoping to become the first airline to get approval under the new regulations. Other airlines expected to implement the new PED policy include JetBlue and Virgin America, which have relatively new planes compared to some legacy and regional lines.
Unsurprisingly, travelers and travel industry leaders alike are pleased with the FAA's decision. In a statement from the U.S. Travel Association, President and CEO Roger Dow, says, “The travel community is grateful, because what's good for the traveler is good for travel-related businesses and our economy. It's this kind of forward thinking that will enable us to remain among the leading industries in growth and job creation.”
Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure, and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow him on Twitter at @pschles08.