FAA Approves iPad, other Electronics for All Inflight Phases

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As expected, the Federal Aviation Administration has changed its policy and will now allow iPads and other portable electronic devices to be used during all phases of flights. The official announcement follows news from early in October when the FAA committee looking into the change said that's what was coming.

FAA says iPads are safe for all phases of flightsFAA says iPads are safe for all phases of flights

Airlines still need to verify that their planes meet the safety requirements so there isn't a set date when the change will take effect, and it won't be implemented industry-wide all at once. In a statement, the FAA said,

Once an airline verifies the tolerance of its fleet, it can allow passengers to use handheld, lightweight electronic devices – such as tablets, e-readers, and smartphones—at all altitudes.

That's good news for iPad, Kindle, and other ebook reader owners because they'll be able to catch up on their reading list, or play games, the entire time they're on a flight including take off and landing.

The FAA conspicuously left laptops out of their statement, so that may still be a gray area although it's likely your MacBook Pro or MacBook Air will have to stay packed away below the safety altitude, just as it currently does.

Changing the rules doesn't, however, mean that travelers will be able to make cell calls on the plane. The FAA is still requiring mobile phones be put into airplane mode, which shuts off the device's cell service.

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It's great to see the FAA relaxing use of electronic devices on flights. Considering airlines still need to show their planes are safe, you probably won't be playing Angry Birds on your iPad during takeoff and landing this holiday season.

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If they have GoGo wireless, you’d think that they’d have already done their safety testing. Especially those airlines that use iPads for their flight manuals.


I predict there will be a crash caused by interference. On there other hand I’m glad I can play movies/play music/work the whole flight, much better than listening to crying kids. grin

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Oh please, if there were going to be a crash due to interference, there already would have been one. This brings me to the two best things about this long overdue change in policy. (1) People can now use their devices openly during take-off and landing. (2) If you actually do cause your plane to crash during take-off or landing, you won’t have a liability problem.

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