In-flight PED use approved: 10 things you should know

2013-10-31 17:43

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Washington - The US Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Administrator has given the all-clear for airlines to start safely expanding passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight.

A statement posted on the website said it is immediately providing airlines with implementation guidance and that airlines would need to verify the tolerance of its fleet before it could allow passengers to use handheld, lightweight electronic devices – such as tablets, e-readers, and smartphones—at all altitudes.

“We believe today’s decision honors both our commitment to safety and consumer’s increasing desire to use their electronic devices during all phases of their flights,”  said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

The result is based on the outcome of a year-long inquiry into the safety of in-flight gadget use and months of testing to determine which aircraft models are most vulnerable to potential electromagnetic interference from electronic devices used by passengers.

The FAA acknowledged that implementation would vary among airlines, but it expects many carriers to submit approval for their passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year.

Here are the top ten things you as a passenger needs to know about in-flight use of your PED:

1. Make safety your first priority.

2.  Changes to PED policies will not happen immediately and will vary by airline. Check with your airline to see if and when you can use your PED.

3.  Current PED policies remain in effect until an airline completes a safety assessment, gets FAA approval, and changes its PED policy.

4. Cell phones may not be used for voice communications.

5.  Devices must be used in airplane mode or with the cellular connection disabled. You may use the WiFi connection on your device if the plane has an installed WiFi system and the airline allows its use.  You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.

6. Properly stow heavier devices under seats or in the overhead bins during takeoff and landing. These items could impede evacuation of an aircraft or may injure you or someone else in the event of turbulence or an accident.   

7. During the safety briefing, put down electronic devices, books and newspapers and listen to the crewmember’s instructions.

8.  It only takes a few minutes to secure items according to the crew’s instructions during takeoff and landing.

9.  In some instances of low visibility – about one percent of flights – some landing systems may not be proved PED tolerant, so you may be asked to turn off your device.

10. Always follow crew instructions and immediately turn off your device if asked.

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