Geek Girl Report: Cell Phones Are Cleared For Takeoff – FAA Decides To Finally Allow Use of Personal Electronics During Takeoff
Last week, the FAA officially announced that cell phones and other personal electronics devices (PED) can now be used during all phases of flight, including take off and landing. The ban originated back in the early 90s, when everyone was under the impression that a cell phone could somehow interfere with the plane's system if it was used during a flight. But even after it was proven numerous times that these devices have no direct effect on the plane's systems, the ban continued to persist, and continued to annoy passengers for several years, until now.
I, for one, am glad to see the ban go away, mostly because it means I won't have to interrupt my video games next time I fly out to Dallas. But more than that, it's an outdated ban based on poor information. As I already said, they has been no direct evidence that suggests using a cell phone on a flight can cause it to come crashing down. Even before the ban was lifted, I've seen plenty of people just hide their phones away instead of turning them completely off during some of my flights, and I haven't once had any technical difficulties on any of my flights. Besides, if the pilots can use iPads in the cockpit and not have it mess with the plane systems, why not let the rest of us use them too?
The FAA expects most airlines to allow cell phone use by the end of the year. But just because your electronic devices have been cleared for takeoff doesn't mean you can just play Words With Friends throughout your next flight. Here's a few things you'll need to know about the new rules.
1.) This is not an immediate change
According to the official press release, all current PED policies will remain in effect until the airline completes a safety check, gets FAA approval and changes its PED policy. In other words, this will be a gradual change and will vary by airline, so before you book your flight, make sure and check to see if your airline has changed its PED policy.
2.) You are still not permitted to talk on your phone during flights
One of the biggest gripes I've heard about removing the cell phone ban is that now, nothing will stop people from yakking on their phone throughout the flight. Well, that's not the case. The FAA is recommending that all cell phones on flights be places in airplane mode or with cellular services disabled. Because while the FAA ban has been lifted, the FCC's ban prohibiting cell phone calls while airborne is still in effect. And besides, even if you wanted to, you're not going to get a signal when you're 30,000 miles or more in the air. So there's no concern
3.) Laptops must still be stowed away
Although you're now free to use cell phones, handheld gaming devices and e-readers at any time during the flight, you'll still need to have your laptop safely secured during take-off and landing. But it's not because they may somehow interfere with the equipment, it's because of their potential to become giant aluminum-and-plastic projectiles in the event of an emergency. So for those of you you like to use your laptops on the plane, it's business as usual.