JetBlue Airways and Delta Air Lines are wasting no time ensuring that passengers will soon be able to use their electronic devices in all stages of flight.
JetBlue could be first, with an airline spokeswoman telling me it could be as quickly as this afternoon. “JetBlue will allow the use of PEDs as quickly as we receive approval from the FAA,” spokeswoman Sharon Jones said.
Delta, too, is moving quickly, though it may not be ready until Friday. Here’s what Delta officials have to say:
Delta Air Lines is ready to allow its customers to be the first to use their portable electronic devices below 10,000 feet as early as Nov. 1, 2013 pending Federal Aviation Administration approval. All Delta aircraft have completed carrier-defined PED tolerance testing to ensure the safe operation of passenger portable electronic devices during all phases of flight and Delta’s plan has been submitted to the FAA for approval.
As I reported earlier this morning, the Federal Aviation Administration will allow airlines to set their own rules regarding whether passengers can use iPads, iPhones, Kindles and other similar devices during the entire flight, including takeoff and landing. The airlines will have to prove to the FAA that that the devices will not conflict with flight operations.(Currently, devices must be shut off at altitudes lower than 10,000 feet.)
Even under the new system, customers will not be able to make calls or use their phones to transmit data on any airline. So “airplane mode” will still be useful.
Like a lot of customers, I’m impressed that JetBlue and Delta are moving so fast on this. But I imagine that all airlines will move relatively quickly. There’s no reason for them to be at a competitive disadvantage.