Two more airlines cleared for gadgets

Two more airlines cleared for gadgets
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has cleared two more airlines for allowing passengers to keep their electronic devices on during the entire lengths of flights.

U.S. Airways and United Airlines have been granted permission to expand in-flight electronic use, making them the fourth and fifth major airlines to receive the OK since the FAA relaxed its rules last week.

The airlines praised the FAA for making the change to its stance on electronic use.

“US Airways applauds the FAA's decision to expand the use of personal electronics onboard and thanks the agency and its team of experts for their diligence in examining this issue," U.S. Air’s Senior Vice president of Customer Experience Kerry Hester said in a statement. "We are constantly working to enhance our customers' in-flight experience and believe this is an important policy change that will further strengthen travelers' onboard enjoyment while keeping safety at the forefront."

“I want to thank the FAA and Administrator Huerta for working with us so quickly to offer this great benefit to our customers,” United Chief Revenue Officer Jim Compton said in a statement. “Safely expanding the use of portable electronic devices is one of the many ways United is working to deliver a more user-friendly travel experience for our customers.”

Both airlines said that the rule change would happen immediately for passengers on their “mainline” flights, or planes they are operating themselves. 

Passengers on smaller regional planes, which are typically operated by other airlines for the companies, may still have to turn their electronics off when their planes are below 10,000 feet, however.

Both airlines said they were working with their regional partners to ensure passengers on all of their flights could keep their electronics on.

“In approving the use of PEDs, the FAA ensured that all US Airways mainline aircraft are equipped to safely handle implementation of the new recommendations,” U.S. Air said in its announcement on Thursday. “US Airways continues to work with all partner airlines operating as US Airways Express to ensure timely implementation of their individual programs which require separate FAA approval.”

United said it was also “working with our regional partners to extend the benefit, and expect to allow customers gate-to-gate use of their electronic devices across all United Express flights operating within the 50 United States by the end of the year as well.”