COLUMBIA - The Federal Aviation Administration announced Thursday that airlines can safely expand passenger use of electronic devices during all parts of a flight. That means passengers will be able to watch videos and play games on their electronic devices from gate-to-gate.
Prior to now, passengers in the U.S. would have to wait to use their tablets or laptops until the plane reached 10,000 feet.
According to Greg Cecil, chair of the Columbia Regional Airport Advisory Board, this is a step forward for those who use these types of devices regularly.
"Technology keeps advancing so some of the rules apply to old technology. People are so different now, if you got a tablet or some of those other new items, it makes a lot of sense to be able to have access to them and then you can use those devices all through the flight," Cecil said.
Passengers at Columbia Regional Airport said this is a logical change.
"It's far more convenient and I think it is a much better arrangement and I am glad it's being introduced. On my next trip to the states I will be able to take advantage of it," Wales resident Simon Joseph said, who is visiting Missouri on business.
This change is the result of research that concluded commercial airplanes can tolerate radio interference signals from electronic devices like tablets, e-books and laptop computers.
When this rule will take effect, though, will depend on the individual airlines. Each airline must verify that its aircraft can tolerate the radio interference from these devices at all altitudes. The FAA said in a statement it expects most carriers will prove this by the end of the year.
However, don't think this means you'll be able to chat on your cellphone while in the air. A ban is still in effect that prohibits any airborne calls using cell phones. Phones will need to be switched into airplane mode or display no signal bars during the flight.