Airlines implement gate-to-gate handheld device rules faster than expected



United and American have joined Delta and Jet Blue in permitting gate-to-gate use of portable electronic devices, following the FAA ruling making it legal to do so.

The FAA had said at the time that airlines would need to perform individual tests to demonstrate that the use of electronic devices during all phases of flight would be safe, and had suggested that this might take some time. With the announcement expected as long ago as March, however, it appears that several airlines undertook this testing in advance of the formal ruling.

There has still been no clarification on what constitutes a ‘handheld’ device, but airlines so far appear to be saying yes to tablets and ebook readers and no to laptops. With many tablet and Bluetooth keyboard combos being visually indistinguishable from ultrabooks to non-technical cabin crews, we shall watch with interest to see how the rules are enforced.

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  1. Kyle (@getify) - 9 years ago

    Delta so far has the clearest and most specific policy I’ve seen.

    They say that devices 2 or less pounds are generally fine to keep using (so MBA 11″rs are *almost* there and might slip thru). They also say the device needs to safely fit in the seat pouch, which my 13″ MBA generally does just fine.

    • pbranham - 9 years ago

      Can’t wait to see someone confuse the airlines’ use of PED (portable electronic device) with the sports world’s use of PED (performance enhancing drugs)…

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      That does seem like a sensible approach – wonder whether they carry scales on board …


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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