New Rules on In-Flight Mobile Device Usage

You’ve probably heard of an important recent ruling by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).   It’s made headlines on the TV news and in all the country’s newspapers.  We’re talking about the FAA’s recent pronouncement that airplane passengers can now use their mobile devices throughout the entire flight, including take-off and landing.

The FAA’s approval of in-flight mobile device usage went into effect as of November 1, 2013, although not every airline will implement the practice immediately.  A few restrictions still remain in place, however.  For example, passengers still cannot initiate or accept phone calls.  And the FAA is also suggesting that passengers use the “airplane mode” on their devices.  This is an important thing to remember – unless your cellular carrier provides Wi-Fi service (all cell phones and some tablets would have this), using airplane mode can render many of the apps on your phone or tablet unusable.

Despite these limitations, the FAA’s recent ruling is great news for airline passengers who buy reasonably priced plane tickets through Airlines Northwest.  For many years, using handheld devices was prohibited during different stages of a flight.  The justification for these restrictions always involved safety concerns – worries that signals coming to or from the devices could interfere with a plane’s navigation and/or communications systems.  After testing, the FAA now believes that the risk is minimal provided the devices do not access the Internet.

Based on the FAA’s recently released guidelines, you still won’t be able to make or take calls on your mobile phone.  But instead of your flight attendants instructing you to power down your device, they’ll tell you to put it into airplane mode.

When the airlines actually implement the new policy is up to them, but these devices are so popular that it’s likely that many airlines will start allowing their in-flight usage fairly quickly.  For example, Delta Airlines, a major US carrier, will start allowing in-flight use of tablets and mobile phones as of November 1 – at least on most of their domestic flights.

The international flights passengers book through Northwest Airlines (or any other travel booking site) might fall under a different set of regulations.  Flights taking off or landing in Europe, for instance, are governed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) rather than the FAA.  In the past, in-flight usage of handheld devices has been restricted in planes falling under EASA’s jurisdiction.  Now, though (starting in December, 2013), EASA will start permitting travelers within Europe to use their devices during all portions of their flight.

Hopefully, you plan on buying reasonably priced plane tickets through a comprehensive travel site like Airlines Northwest.  That’s always been a smart decision.  But now you’ll be able to use your cell phone, e-reader or tablet to read e-books on most flights.  And, if your carrier provides Wi-Fi access, you’ll be able to play games and watch videos to help you stay entertained.

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One Response to New Rules on In-Flight Mobile Device Usage

  1. ladiima says:

    I’ve seen the news about its announcement and most of the airline companies in the Philippines are allowing now their passengers to use their gadgets as to what this post had written. At least, somehow, the passengers can now divert their attention to pure entertainment through the use of their own device(s)/gadget(s) while they are on board. Glad that FAA made the decision of allowing of devices to be used. I hope they’ll come up with a studies that will allow passengers to use their devices with internet connection without affecting the flight’s signal or its communication system. Though I get their point of the safety of the flight, I hope someday it will be proven that there are no risks if ever internet access is allowed.

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