In order to allow gate-to-gate PED usage, airlines must first pass a test to confirm that their airplanes can tolerate radio interference signals from PEDs. Thus, the timeline for these changes is different for each airline.
Already both Delta and JetBlue have completed their testing and applied to the FAA, hoping to be the first US airlines to allow in-flight electronics during all phases of flight. If the FAA feels like doing more work today to sign off on the requests, then tomorrowNovember 1could make history as the first day US air travelers aren't scolded by flight attendants to "turn off devices right now!"
Questions? The official FAA press release has arranged the info into an easy-to-digest "top 10" list:
Top Things Passengers Should Know about Expanded Use of PEDs on Airplanes:
1. Make safety your first priority.
2. Changes to PED policies will not happen immediately and will vary by airline. Check with your airline to see if and when you can use your PED.
3. Current PED policies remain in effect until an airline completes a safety assessment, gets FAA approval, and changes its PED policy.
4. Cell phones may not be used for voice communications.
5. Devices must be used in airplane mode or with the cellular connection disabled. You may use the WiFi connection on your device if the plane has an installed WiFi system and the airline allows its use. You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.
6. Properly stow heavier devices under seats or in the overhead bins during takeoff and landing. These items could impede evacuation of an aircraft or may injure you or someone else in the event of turbulence or an accident.
7. During the safety briefing, put down electronic devices, books and newspapers and listen to the crewmember’s instructions.
8. It only takes a few minutes to secure items according to the crew’s instructions during takeoff and landing.
9. In some instances of low visibility – about one percent of flights – some landing systems may not be proved PED tolerant, so you may be asked to turn off your device.
10. Always follow crew instructions and immediately turn off your device if asked.
But what about in-flight WiFi? How soon will passengers be able to hook onto a signal? Internet will still remain off until 10,000 feet, but for further analysis, the Wall Street Journal has a brilliant breakdown of what to expect and when.
Bottom line: We're psyched to no longer feel like petty criminals while taking an out-the-window photo with our iPhone during takeoff.