For all of you out there that have craved your e-books, game or even your favorite music on your airline flights, your hunger for your electronics may be over very soon. Today, the Federal Aviation Authority announced that by the end of the year airline passengers can use their portable electronic devices during all phases of a commercial airline flight.  Cell phone calls, however, will continue to be prohibited.

In a statement, the FAA said it reached its decision after consulting a group of experts that included representatives from the airlines, aviation manufacturers, passengers, pilots, flight attendants and the mobile technology industry.

Passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games and watch videos on their devices with very limited exceptions, the FAA said. Devices must be held or put in the seat-back pocket during the actual takeoff and landing. Delta Airlines seems to be the first airline that will introduce the new practices, but other airlines will be quick to follow the new ruling.

FAA sets electronics free on flights – mostly

By Michael Cooney of Network World

{Excerpt}

After years of debate the Federal Aviation Administration today said airline passengers can by the end of the year use portable electronic devices during all phases of a commercial airline flight.

Now that doesn't mean there's a blanket gate-to-gate pass for your smart phone or e-reader because every airline will be different and some restrictions will still apply - but at least airlines and passengers will have more options than they have in the past.

From the FAA: "Passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions. Electronic items, books and magazines, must be held or put in the seat back pocket during the actual takeoff and landing roll. Cell phones should be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled - i.e., no signal bars displayed-and cannot be used for voice communications based on FCC regulations that prohibit any airborne calls using cell phones.    If your air carrier provides Wi-Fi service during flight, you may use those services.  You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards."

The Portable Electronic Device (PED) Aviation Rulemaking Committee concluded most commercial airplanes can tolerate radio interference signals from PEDs. In a recent report, the group recommended that the FAA provide airlines with new procedures to assess if their airplanes can tolerate radio interference from PEDs. "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. In rare instances of low-visibility, the crew will instruct passengers to turn off their devices during landing. The group also recommended that heavier devices should be safely stowed under seats or in overhead bins during takeoff and landing," the FAA stated.

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