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FAA To Allow Gadget Use On Planes

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WASHINGTON (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Passengers won’t be able to use their cellphones. But depending on which airline they fly, they may soon start getting permission from the flight crew to use other electronic devices throughout their flight.

The Federal Aviation Administration has issued new guidelines under which passengers will be able to use devices to read, work, play games, watch movies and listen to music, from the time they board to the time they leave the plane. It’s a relief for many travelers, who get anxious when having to ‘unplug’ for the duration of their flight.

“People were leaving their phones on, using them, getting caught sometimes being asked to so in some ways for some people it won’t be a big change,” one airport customer told CBS 11 News.

Before they can implement the changes, airlines will have to show the FAA that their planes are protected from electronic interference, and that they’ve updated flight crew training manuals and the rules for stowing devices. Delta says it’s submitting a plan to implement the new policy. The head of the FAA says the vast majority of airliners should qualify.

Instead of ‘policing’ passenger before takeoff, flight attendants will be able to focus more time on safety precautions.

“Having to go through and ask for customers several times to turn things off or monitor — be the “hall monitor” it’s very frustrating. It takes away from other safety-related duties that we have a responsibility to meet,” said Jeffrey Ewing with the Association of Professional Flight Attendants.

Passengers will be told to switch their smartphones, tablets and other devices to airplane mode. And heavier devices such as laptops will still have to be stowed because of concern they might injure someone if they go flying around the cabin.

A travel industry group is welcoming the changes. The U.S. Travel Association says it’s a common-sense move to accommodate a traveling public equipped with plenty of technology.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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