FAA Allows Portable Electronic Devices to Be Used During Entire Flight

The Federal Aviation Administration today made historic changes to its longstanding Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) policy, officially allowing airlines to grant passengers permission to use PEDs "during all phases of flight."

In its official press release, the FAA said implementation of the new policy among airlines will take time as carriers must prove that their fleets can handle the usage of multiple PEDs gate-to-gate, but the agency expects that by the end of this year, passengers will "be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions."

Those exceptions include the use of cellphones or tablets to make phone calls or send text messages during takeoff and landing, which will remain prohibited.

Also, all electronic devices with cellular or WiFi service must be set to "airplane mode" during that time.

Speaking with NBC News, the national safety and security coordinator for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants expressed concern that these new guidelines could increase friction between passengers and flight attendants.

"It’s going to become more challenging to determine whose device is okay and whose isn’t," said Kelly Skyles, a flight attendant herself. "My greatest concern is that it’s going to put flight attendants at risk for more confrontations."

Update 10:53 a.m.: The FAA has clarified that its policy concerning in-flight cellphone calls remains unchanged:

The FAA is not considering the use of cell phones for voice communications during flight because Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations currently prohibit any airborne calls using cell phones.

[photo via Shutterstock]