FAA's use of devices changes could take off at Bob Hope Airport

Passengers at Bob Hope Airport will be able to keep their iPods and Kindles on through takeoff and landing — some starting Saturday, others soon, as airlines react to the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision this week to allow the use of electronics below 10,000 feet for the first time.

The FAA rule change came on Thursday, and now permits the use of electronic devices in “airplane mode” — with connection to cellular data networks disconnected — during all phases of flight.

So while passengers will still not be able to make calls or use their 3G networks to browse the web on their smartphones, they will be able to use those devices to read, listen to music, or play games.

The rule changes are being implemented by individual airlines at their own pace.

In Burbank, JetBlue and Delta had already been approved by the FAA to have passengers use electronics at all points of the flights, while Alaska Airlines, Southwest, U.S. Airways and United representatives said the airlines were still working on getting FAA approval.

Alaska Airlines spokesman Paul McElroy said the airline was still in the process of updating its internal procedures to comply with the rule change, and would then submit those updated standards to the FAA.

McElroy said that the process involved updating flight attendant manuals, seat-back cards and more.

“We just got the FAA guidelines today, so we have to determine if there’s any additional testing that might need to take place on our planes,” he said. “After we figure that all out, we present that to the FAA and they will approve it.”

All airline representatives said their airlines were in favor of the rule change, and that customers had long requested it. 

Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins said the airline expected to have approval “soon,” but couldn’t give an exact date, and said that the airline was preparing for this occurrence with its investments in wireless Internet technology in its planes.

“We have the only satellite [wireless Internet enabled] fleet and largest number of big Boeing jets that have that technology, and Burbank gets a lot of that connectivity,” he said.


Follow Daniel Siegal on Google+ and on Twitter: @Daniel_Siegal.


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