Government safety rules are changing to let airline passengers use most electronic devices from gate-to-gate.
Airline passengers will be able to use their electronic devices to read, work, play games, watch movies and listen to music ?? but not talk on their cell phones ?? under much-anticipated new guidelines issued Thursday morning by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The FAA says airlines can allow passengers to use the devices during takeoffs and landings on planes that meet certain criteria for protecting aircraft systems from electronic interference. But, passengers shouldn't expect changes to happen immediately.
FAA Administrator Michael Huerta says timing will depend on the airline.
Connections to the Internet to surf, exchange emails, text or download data will still be prohibited below 10,000 feet. Heavier devices such as laptops will have to be stowed. Passengers will be told to switch their smartphones, tablets and other devices to airplane mode.
However, cell phone calls will still be prohibited.
Mary Murphy knows how much this will benefit travelers. " I think that's great because I think that it can be very annoying to have to turn your cell phone off if you're just reading something that's already been downloaded and you're not actually using the technology that might mess with their gadgets ," says Murphy.
Ro Hall is one of the travelers who doesn't know why they put this rule into effect in the first place. " I've always wondered about the policy about not letting people bring cell phones on because there's no way of knowing whether people are turning them off, so I never felt there was a danger. I just didn't think they would let people, children bring them on if there was a real danger ," says Hall.