The US has ruled that electronic devices can now be used by air passengers during take-off and landing.
The new regulation, passed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), will enable flyers to use their smartphones, tablets and laptops while the seatbelt signed is switched on, for sending and receiving emails and surfing the internet.
Passengers will also be able to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards, but making and receiving voice calls will remain prohibited, due to possible interference with flight equipment.
The FAA said it based its decision on input from “airlines, aviation manufacturers, passengers, pilots, flight attendants and the mobile technology industry”.
“We believe today’s decision honours both our commitment to safety and consumer’s increasing desire to use their electronic devices during all phases of their flights,” said US Transportation Secretary, Anthony Foxx. “These guidelines reflect input from passengers, pilots, manufacturers, and flight attendants, and I look forward to seeing airlines implement these much anticipated guidelines in the near future.”
New York-based JetBlue Airways has already said it will start allowing “gate-to-gate personal electronics use” on its aircraft, with Delta Air Lines expected to follow suit.
And while FAA regulations only apply to airlines in the US, their directives are often adhered to by other national aviation authorities, and the world can expect widespread roll-out of in-flight gadget use in the coming months.