Gone are the days when young'uns can shake hands with the pilot, get a tour of the cockpit during the flight, and be ceremoniously pinned with airline wings. When I was a kid, flying was a joy. It was exciting. But, as an adult I've come to loathe the traveling experience. Uncomfortable seats shared with idiot co-passengers. And, then 9/11 happened and it seemed like it was more about how much the airlines could take away from you, instead of giving you things to make you a more satisfied customer.
So, it was great news last week when the FAA announced what us frequent travelers already knew – that running electronic devices has no bearing on the airplane's navigational instruments. Unbeknownst to the iron-fisted and downright grumpy flight attendants, I've been secretly "testing" that theory for the past 10 years. Even when they started requiring electronic devices to be completely turned off, I still just stuck my devices into Airplane Mode. It wasn't a threat of defiance at all, I promise, but only confusion over why all devices actually came with Airplane Mode if we weren't allowed to use it. I mean, it had to be created for a reason, right?
After the announcement on Wednesday, October 30, 2013, Delta was the first to announce that by Friday, November 1st, 2013, ALL of their flights would allow gate-to-gate usage of electronic devices. Other airlines started following suit, but Delta beat them all to it. In fact, even American Airlines has noted that some regional flights won't relax the rules until later this year.
How it Works
You're now able to read your e-books, play games, and watch videos on your portable electronic devices from gate-to-gate (under the old 10,000 feet limit) within the U.S. and reports this week suggest that Europe is considering modifying their policies soon, too. Alec Baldwin was just a few years too early.
There are still a couple important caveats:
- Cellular function must remain off during the entire flight.
- Devices will need to be in airplane mode and you'll need to secure them during take-off and landing by either holding or placing them under your seat, i.e., not in the seat pocket.
- Laptops still need to be stowed during taxi, takeoff and landing.