FAA Loosens Rules For Electronic Devices During Flights

Source: Bart Jansen / USA Today

Airlines are racing to allow passengers to use portable electronic devices such as readers and games during takeoffs, landings and taxiing after the Federal Aviation Administration announced a major policy change Thursday.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced the change at Reagan National Airport, saying airlines would still have to demonstrate that greater use of electronics won’t interfere with each type of plane. Flight manuals, crew training and safety briefings also must be changed. But the change is expected on most flights by the end of the year.

Delta Air Lines spokesman Paul Skrbec said the airline already has performed the required tolerance tests on all of its aircraft and has submitted paperwork to the FAA for its approval.

The change allows the use of electronics such as smartphones, e-readers and games while the plane is taxiing, taking off and landing. Those devices can be used now only while the plane is at cruising altitude. The decision follows a report Sept. 30 from a 28-member committee representing airlines, manufacturers, electronics makers, pilots and flight attendants.

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