Soon we'll no longer hear the tired warnings of flight attendants to turn off all electronic devices before our flight takes off. Under new rules announced this week by the Federal Aviation Administration, airlines will be allowed to permit passengers to use electronic devices during the entire flight, although you still can't talk on cell phones.
Airlines will implement the changes on their own timelines, once they've properly updated their flight-crew training manuals, safety announcements and proven to the FAA?that their planes meet new requirements. Passengers would then be allowed to use notebooks, smartphones and other electronic devices to surf the Internet, exchange emails and other tasks provided the plane is equipped with a Wi-Fi system. Laptops and other larger electronic devices will still need to be stowed during takeoff and landing.
Having to turn off electronic devices for a short time during takeoff and landing certainly wasn't an enormous inconvenience, but being able to leave them on is one less thing to worry about when flying commercially. If nothing else, it's a small victory for passengers in a day and age when the price of airline travel continues to rise while the list of passenger conveniences continues to shrink.