News by Andrew Kameka on Thursday October 31, 2013.
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The pre-flight ritual of turning off all electronic devices may soon come to an end now that the US Federal Aviation Administration has cleared airlines to let passengers keep their devices running throughout all phases of the flight. The FAA has determined that the signal from personal electronics not connected to cellular networks poses minimal security risk, so "gate-to-gate" use of electronics will be permitted with a few exceptions.
The ruling comes with important caveats. Cellular activity is still banned, so users will not be able to make phone calls during flights because of existing FCC regulations. Smartphones can be used for media consumption, but they must be kept in Airplane Mode or with cellular service disabled. Tablets and ereaders must be handheld or stowed away in the seat back pocket during takeoff and landing. The crew may also instruct passengers to disable all devices when "low visibility" during the flight might raise concerns about signal interference from personal electronics, but that will affect only one percent of flights.
The FAA warns that passengers should not expect to board a plane tomorrow and immediately use mobile devices without running afoul of existing policies. The FAA says that differences in planes and procedures by airline prevent a uniform change in policy overnight, but it expects widespread adoption of the new guidance to lead to changes by the end of 2013.source: FAA, via: CNET
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.