The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) released a statement today saying that it’s safe to use electronic devices including smartphones and tablets throughout the entire flight from gate-to-gate as long as the device is in airplane mode. The relaxed guidelines will also apply to e-readers, DVD players and portable gaming devices.
Passengers are still barred from using cellular service on-board to make calls or send text messages, but airlines will be allowed to offer on-board Wi-Fi throughout the entire flight. Bluetooth accessories, including wireless keyboards, will also be allowed.
The FAA’s new rules will go into effect by the end of year, while its implementation may vary from fleet to fleet based on differences between airline rules. An airline, for example, could still decide to prevent people from using devices. The report also notes that some landing systems may still require all passengers to turn off their devices, though this only applies to about one-percent of all aircraft.
The FAA has recently started to repeal what are perceived overly strict rules regarding the use of mobile devices, as both passengers and consumer electronics companies put pressure on the administration, arguing that these devices aren’t actually a safety risk. Earlier this month, the FAA ruled that Wi-Fi is safe during all phases of flight as well.