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It's About Time! FAA is Letting Us Use Electronics in Flight!

By William Peacock, Esq. on October 31, 2013 | Last updated on April 10, 2020

Is there anything more annoying than a flight attendant forcing you to pause that episode of Avengers right before Hulk takes on Loki? It's for your own safety, they said. Your iPad will interfere with the flight computers, they protested.

It was all crap. We knew it. They did too. And this summer, we passed along the rumor that the FAA was considering loosening their restrictions on electronics during takeoff and landing. The rumor is turning to reality, and by next year, you should be able to keep that tablet, laptop, or smartphone (in airplane mode, of course) running nonstop.

Per the FAA's press release, here are ten things to know about using your electronic devices on flights, with helpful annotation:

  1. Make safety your first priority. (Duh.)
  2. The timeline for changes will vary by airline; (Since they're all peddling Wi-Fi now, we'd expect airlines to move quickly.)
  3. Until an airline completes a safety assessment and gets FAA approval, the old rules apply; (You didn't expect this to happen that quickly, did you?)
  4. Cell phones may not be used for calls; (Thank you! When the FAA made the announcement, our first thought was, oh great, two hour flights with people babbling on their phones. Awesome. And we thought crying babies were bad.)
  5. Devices must be used in airplane mode or with the cellular connection disabled. WiFi and Bluetooth are allowed; (Even though a phone still can't take down a plane, no voice calls.)
  6. Properly stow heavier devices under seats or in the overhead bins during takeoff and landing. (Try evacuating when the idiot next to you is using one of these.)
  7. During the safety briefing, put down electronic devices, books and newspapers and listen to the crewmember's instructions; (Seat is a flotation device, pull the red tab on the inflatable life vest after putting it on ... yadda yadda.)
  8. It only takes a few minutes to secure items according to the crew's instructions during takeoff and landing; (So yeah, Loki will have to wait.)
  9. In instances of low visibility -- about one percent of flights -- some possibly-sensitive landing systems may require you to turn off your device; (They actually just don't want you to bonk your head on that tablet, but either way, stow the darn thing.)
  10. Always follow crew instructions and immediately turn off your device if asked. (If you don't, this will happen.)

Glorious times. And, of course, remember to connect with us on LinkedIn so you have something to read on the plane.

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