FAA to Allow Wider Use of Personal Devices on Planes
The Federal Aviation Administration today voted in favor of allowing airlines to expand the use of personal electronics during all phases of flight. Today's decision follows a lengthy review of the existing policy, which requires that all devices be turned off during take-off and landing. The FAA studied the possible effects on safety that expanded use of electronics might have, and found that their use is generally safe in most circumstances. Today's ruling does not take effect immediately, it will be up to each individual airline to implement the new guidelines. The FAA believes that by the end of the year, most airlines will allow the use of devices such as tablets, e-readers, laptops, and cell phones to watch videos, read books, play games, or listen to music — as long as the devices are in airplane mode. With respect to cell phones, the FAA said, "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." Passengers will be able to access on-board Wi-Fi (depending on availability), however, as well as use Bluetooth accessories, such as wireless headsets or keyboards. Wi-Fi is no offered by all airlines, and some of those that do can't operate their in-flight Wi-Fi systems until planes have ascended to at least 10,000 feet. "We believe today's decision honors both our commitment to safety and consumer’s increasing desire to use their electronic devices during all phases of their flights," said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "These guidelines reflect input from passengers, pilots, manufacturers, and flight attendants, and I look forward to seeing airlines implement these much anticipated guidelines in the near future."
Panasonic Gives Your Phone an Upgrade on Your Next Flight
Panasonic's latest seatback systems for planes are more phone-oriented than ever, providing a dedicated spot for your phone, Qi wireless charging, USB 3.0 SuperSpeed for charging and media, and even an HDMI input. The multiple USB ports can not only charge your phone but also let you access your videos, photos, and music on the seat's 13-inch full-HD touch screen, which is actually based on an Android tablet.
Gov't Revives Possibility of Voice Calls On Planes
The U.S. Department of Transportation on Thursday proposed rules that could eventually pave the way for making voice calls on airplanes.
DoT Bans Galaxy Note7 From All Flights
Consumers who still own a Samsung Galaxy Note7 will not be allowed to bring them onto airplanes at all beginning noon on Oct. 15.
FCC Chair Nixes Cell Calls On Planes
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today put the kibosh on a years-old proceeding that would have allowed passengers to make calls from their cell phones in airplanes. "I stand with airline pilots, flight attendants, and America’s flying public against the FCC’s ill-conceived 2013 plan to allow people to make cellphone calls on planes," said Pai in a statement.