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Begich Commends FAA for Lifting Electronic Device Restriction

Smartphones are Cleared for Takeoff

Senator Mark Begich commended the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for today clearing the way for portable electronic devices to be used in all phases of flight on passenger aircraft.   This means that devices like iPads, Kindles and smart phones can be used throughout a flight, although cell-phone calls will still be prohibited.

“The FAA’s primary goal is to ensure the safety of airplane travel, so I’m glad they examined this question closely,” said Sen. Begich. “Once they determined that these devices pose no threat to airplanes, they came to the common-sense conclusion that there was no reason not to allow these devices throughout a flight.  I’m glad they are moving quickly to implement this decision.”

In August, Sen. Begich, a member of the Senate subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security, joined a bipartisan group of 10 Senators who called on the FAA to speed the work of the Aviation Rulemaking Committee that was considering the issue.   The rule also allows for continuous connection to on-board Wi-Fi systems and the use of Bluetooth accessories, but does not allow cell phone calls, since cell phones send out stronger signals and are regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), not the FAA.

The FAA will be issuing guidance shortly to airlines on implementing this change.  Since each airline operates differently, the change will take place at different times depending on the airline.  The FAA expects most airlines to have implemented the change by the end of the year.

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