The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has revamped its rules for portable electronic devices (PEDs) on flights. Before the end of the year, passengers will be able to leave their devices on throughout their journey, as long as the devices are in airplane mode.

The new rules, which were rumored for months, mean that passengers are able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos during all phases of flight. Previously, passengers had to turn devices off during landing and takeoff, and below 10,000 feet.

As noted by the FAA, here is what passengers should know about the expanded use of PEDs on airplanes:

  • Make safety your first priority.
  • 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.
  • Current PED policies remain in effect until an airline completes a safety assessment, gets FAA approval, and changes its PED policy.
  • Cell phones may not be used for voice communications.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • During the safety briefing, put down electronic devices, books and newspapers and listen to the crewmember’s instructions.
  • It only takes a few minutes to secure items according to the crew’s instructions during takeoff and landing.
  • 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.
  • Always follow crew instructions and immediately turn off your device if asked.

I know of a few people who will be happy about the new rules. Are you one of them?