For all of those who have been air travellers for a long time, one of the most frustrating things has been not being able to use small electronic devices. Although fliers have been able to use these devices after a certain point on a flight, they were never able to use them throughout the whole flight. This is a rule that the FAA is finally changing.
This highly anticipated announcement came on Thursday and will affect all U.S. airline flights. The FAA says that travellers will now be able to play games and watch videos on electronic devices. That being said, they have not cleared all electronic devices. For example, The FAA says that cell phones are still banned from flights. There are a number of reasons for this, but one remains that talking on a cell phone in such a small area could be disturbing to the other passengers.
So what kind of electronic devices are fliers allowed to use throughout the whole flight? The new rule includes e-readers, laptops, portable gaming devices like the Nintendo 3DS and tablet computers. Smartphone use is allowed except for making calls. The FAA said that there is no plan as of now to remove the restriction placed on making phone calls during a flight.
Until this big change, passengers on all flights in the United States were banned from using electronic devices during certain points of the flight. For example, electronic devices had to remain off until the plane ascended above 10,000 feet. The amount of time that it took for an aircraft to reach this point changed depending on the carrier. However, there are some airlines that did not allow the use of electronic devices altogether.
Now, however, the FAA said that it anticipates many airlines to prove to them that passenger safety will not be put into jeopardy if electronic devices are being used. The FAA said that passengers can use electronic devices from gate to gate. This will come into effect by the end of 2013.
The truth is that this is great news for the airline industry as a whole. Currently, there are less people who are choosing to fly ever since the economic downturn. Airlines need a new hook to bring back demand. We live in an age of electronics, so the ability to use electronics throughout an entire flight is definitely a positive aspect. This will be great for business workers who want to continue working during their flights.
Unfortunately, this new rule change will not be enough to change things for the entire industry. The airline industry is still fighting an uphill battle. This is a battle that will take time to win. Airlines will have to keep prices low to drum up some demand this holiday season. If they do not, the roads will be packed this year as people opt to drive to their holiday destinations.