Travel News

Now Use Your Portable Electronic Device From Gate to Gate

We received the following news from this week, regarding the use of portable electronic devices on airplanes–and it’s great news for business travelers.

FAA allowing most electronic device use throughout flights

The Federal Aviation Administration will allow airlines to expand passengers’ use of portable electronic devices during all phases of flight, the agency announced today, but cell phone calls will still be prohibited.

Airlines are now being given guidance on the new policy, FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said. Implementation will vary among airlines, the FAA added, due to differences among fleets and operations. But the agency expects many carriers to show that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year.

In a statement, the FAA said it reached its decision after consulting a group of experts that included representatives from the airlines, aviation manufacturers, passengers, pilots, flight attendants and the mobile technology industry.

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, the FAA said. Devices must be held or put in the seat-back pocket during the actual takeoff and landing.

Cell phones should be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled – no signal bars displayed — and cannot be used for voice communications due to FCC regulations that prohibit any airborne calls using cell phones, the agency said.

If an air carrier provides Wi-Fi service during flight, passengers may use it. Short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards, can also be used.

“We believe today’s decision honors both our commitment to safety and consumers’ increasing desire to use their electronic devices during all phases of their flights,” said 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.”

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Is Airline Wi-Fi Worth the Price?

Is airplane wifi worth the price

It seems we can’t board a flight without hearing or seeing an ad about airline Wi-Fi services. Airlines are practically climbing over each other to get the message out. “Airline A has the most planes equipped with Wi-Fi.” “Airline B has the best service.” “Airline C has the best deals to stay connected throughout your flight.”

But is it really worth the price?

I recently saw results from a survey that suggests most travelers aren’t willing to pay for the “privilege” of staying connected in the sky. Of the four thousand travelers surveyed, 84% said airline Wi-Fi should be free. While this doesn’t indicate how many travelers actually log on and pay for the service, it does tell us that the vast majority of travelers feel it’s not worth the price.

We also have to take into account the lack of power ports on aircraft. While airlines have made great strides in adding outlets and USB ports, you could still land in a seat without a way to charge your battery. So on that four-hour flight with only a two-hour battery, should you decide the cost of Wi-Fi is indeed worth it, you still may only want to purchase a thirty or sixty minute Wi-Fi pass rather than a segment or single flight pass.

Now, if you’re a traveler who just has to stay connected 24/7, then perhaps Wi-Fi may be worth the price. There’s nothing worse then sitting there, with smart phone in hand, wondering what’s in your inbox, knowing that the internet is just a click (and a credit card) away!