Airline WiFi: What You Need to Know About New FAA Regulations

In a move that will bring joy to passengers on airlines everywhere in the US, the FAA recently changed their regulations concerning usage of portable electronic devices during ALL phases of flights.

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What the New Regulations Mean

The FAA released a statement that provided more details about the new regulations, stating that “passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions.” This includes devices which can be used with airline WiFi. However, the FAA did note that certain electronic items, books, and magazines, must be held or put in the seat back pocket during the actual takeoff and landing roll.

These changes come after an FAA investigatory panel researched and officially recommended that passengers be allowed to use personal electronic device at any point during a flight. These changes are welcomed by many who believe the previous restrictions for on-board devices were outdated.

The Verge reported that in March of 2012, the FAA said it would take a “fresh look” at the issue, which was a move supported by both Congress and the FCC. Keep in mind though, this panel was not meant to research the possibility of passengers using mobile devices to make phone calls or send text messages, since cellular connections are banned by the Federal Communication Commission.

Here are five things you should know about using airline WiFi:

  1. The devices you can use include handheld devices such as smartphones, tablets, and e-readers during all phases of flights.
  2. During takeoffs and landings, the FAA said passengers must stow larger items like laptops.
  3. Devices must be in airplane mode, or your cellular connection must be disabled.
  4. You can use airline WiFi if the airline you are flying with provides the service.
  5. You CANNOT make phone calls with your cell phone.