The signature and somewhat pesky "Ladies and Gentlemen please turn off and stowaway all portable electronic devices" FAA announcement, that lets airline passengers know they are approaching takeoff or landing will soon become as obsolete as the intercoms used to make the announcement.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced Thursday, that airlines will soon allow passengers to use electronic devices like tablets, laptops, e-readers and cell phones in airplane mode, throughout the entirety of a flight. On rare occasions circumstantial stipulations may force captains to ask passengers to turn off their devices, the FAA said. But overall, planes are scheduled to become a gadget friendly zone.
Phone calls and voice communications, however, are still restricted during flights.
Until now the FAA prohibited the use of all electronic devices during the takeoff and landing stages of a flight, due to safety risks. But after months of research and analysis, a special panel designated by the FAA has concluded that the radio signals emitted by the devices pose no real threat to the airplane's communications or navigation systems, as was originally thought.
Critics say the announcement should have come sooner due to the fact the majority of pilots have replaced paper navigation charts and manuals used in the cockpit, with electronic versions viewed on iPads and tablets.
"Each airline will determine how and when this will happen," FAA administrator Michael Huerta said of the new sanction, at a Thursday morning press conference at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Some airlines are expected to implement the changes as soon as December. But before the airlines can make the laxed rules official, they must demonstrate that their planes can tolerate the limited radio interference.
Many airlines welcome the change. "We already started work to implement this as safely and quickly as possible, and are excited to offer this new benefit because our customers tell us they want to use their portable electronic devices," United Airlines spokesman Luke Punzenberger told the Chicago Tribune.