WASHINGTON — Airline passengers will be able to use their electronic devices gate-to-gate to read, work, play games, watch movies and listen to music — but not talk on their cellphones — under much-anticipated guidelines issued Thursday by the Federal Aviation Administration.
But passengers shouldn’t expect changes to happen right away, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said at a news conference. How fast the change is implemented will vary by airline, he said.
Airlines will have to show the FAA how their airplanes meet the new guidelines and that they’ve updated their flight-crew training manuals, safety announcements and rules for stowing devices to reflect the new guidelines.
Delta and JetBlue said they would immediately submit plans to implement the new policy.
Currently, passengers are required to turn off their smartphones, tablets and other devices once a plane’s door closes. They’re not supposed to restart them until the planes reach 10,000 feet and the captain gives the go-ahead. Passengers are supposed to turn their devices off again as the plane descends to land and not restart them until the plane is on the ground.
Under the new guidelines, airlines whose planes are properly protected from electronic interference may allow passengers to use the devices during takeoffs, landings and taxiing, the FAA said.