Soon, passengers won't have to battle with flight attendants over the use of their electronic devices. The FAA is loosening its restrictions effective immediately. The change is expected on most flights by the end of the year, but some airlines are racing to make it happen as soon as possible.
Delta airlines could be ready to go with the adjustment as early as Friday. The new guidelines provide more flexibility with your electronic devices.
Under the new rules, passengers will be allowed to use electronics such as smartphones, e-readers and games while the plane is taxiing, taking off, and landing. Previously, the use of such devices was not permitted until the plane was at cruising altitude.
Smartphones will have to be switched into in airplane mode to prohibit sending or receiving data, calls, and text messages. Phone calls remain banned by the FCC.
Flight attendants seem to welcome the change. Laura Glading, President of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants said it will be a win-win. She said "We're frankly tired of feeling like 'hall monitors' when it comes to the issue."
The big challenge will continue to be convincing passengers to keep their phones in airplane mode and not text. Engineers say phone calls and text messaging can still interfere with the pilots.
Remember, implementation of the new guidelines will vary from airline to airline. Some may be ready to loosen the restrictions right away. But others may continue to enforce the previous bans for several weeks until they feel their aircraft and flight attendants are fully prepared for the switch.
The U.S. Travel Association praised the decision, saying that the new rules will make the traveler's experience more enjoyable without interfering with safety or security.
New planes are being built to withstand electronic interference from passengers, so it's possible that the ban on texting while in flight could be lifted in the near future.