A court has overturned a lawsuit challenging the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to loosen restrictions on the use of personal electronics in-flight. A Washington, DC court said Friday that the FAA had the authority to allow the use of gadgets at various stages during a flight, Ars Technica reports.
The lawsuit argued that the use of personal electronics during flights could pose a danger by distracting passengers from the various safety announcements before take-off or becoming projectiles during turbulence or other issues. Due to differences in aircraft the rule was not always applicable but in all modern aircraft there is little to no risk from having a personal device.
In 2013, the FAA made the official decision to allow the use of electronic devices during most phases of a flight. By 2014, around 96 percent of US commercial plane passengers were allowed to use small electronics during takeoff and landing, the AP reports.
The FAA stated in 2013:
Passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions. Electronic items, books and magazines, must be held or put in the seat back pocket during the actual takeoff and landing roll. Cell phones should be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled – i.e., no signal bars displayed—and cannot be used for voice communications based on FCC regulations that prohibit any airborne calls using cell phones. If your air carrier provides Wi-Fi service during flight, you may use those services. You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.
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.
I’ve used my phone and laptop on a plane before and I’m still here!