One by one, airlines in the US are informing passengers that yes, following the Federal Aviation Administration’s recent ruling, they can now use their electronic devices gate to gate.
Delta and JetBlue were particularly quick off the mark, giving its fliers the green light within just a few hours of the FAA’s announcement at the end of last month.
United, it seems, needed a little time to mull over the details, before finally announcing Wednesday afternoon that it now offers customers “electronics-friendly cabins” on all of its domestic mainline flights.
The decision means passengers hopelessly addicted to their gadgets will no longer have to sweat it to 10,000 feet before firing up their device, whether it’s a tablet, e-reader, or smartphone – or possibly all three at once if you’re a real lost cause.
However, the carrier said in its release that bulkier machines such as laptops will still have to be stored securely in an overhead bin during takeoff and landing.
In addition, gadgets should be switched off while the flight attendants give their preflight safety briefing so you can be clear on what seating position to adopt for landing perpendicularly on a mountain at 500 mph.
The new rules also stipulate that devices with cellular capability must be switched to airplane mode for the entire duration of a flight.
“There’s no safety problem if they’re not [in airplane mode],” FAA administrator Michael Huerta told the NY Times recently, “But you’re going to arrive at your destination with a dead battery” as the device would be constantly searching for a cell connection.
United added that it also expects to allow passengers gate-to-gate use of their gadgets across all United Express flights operating within the US by the end of the year.