JetBlue to move first on wider gadget use

US carrier JetBlue Airways is in talks with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to become the first airline to allow customers to use personal electronic devices during all phases of flight.

The FAA endorsed the findings of a cross-industry panel of experts that recommended a certification path for airlines that maintains safety.

Currently, customers must turn off and stow all electronic devices during taxi, takeoff, landing and when the aircraft is below 10,000 feet. The new policy will allow JetBlue customers to use smart phones, tablets, games and other smaller electronic devices at any time during taxi, takeoff and during flight, unless otherwise instructed by a crewmember.

“The rules have caught up with today’s technology,” said Robin Hayes, JetBlue chief commercial officer. “This new policy vastly improves our customers’ experience, and giving everyone a chance to be more connected is good for business. We intend to be the first commercial airline in the United States to allow gate-to-gate use of personal electronics devices. To support that goal, we began the certification process with the FAA today.”

JetBlue A320 Captain Charles (Chuck) Cook, manager fleet programs and technology, led a subcommittee of the FAA’s Personal Electronic Devices Aviation Rulemaking Committee (PED ARC), which issued recommendations to the FAA to allow more liberal electronics use while maintaining flight safety.

“This is a landmark report that has been thoroughly discussed by experts from all of the appropriate areas of the industry,” Captain Cook said. “Ultimately, we want our crewmembers to focus on safety and customer service, and not to have a role in determining which devices should or should not be used. We believe the recommendations we put forth meet these goals.”

“Safety is always the first priority,” Mr. Hayes added. “We applaud the FAA in chartering the PED committee and bringing the experts together to determine the best way to allow the expansion of PED use without compromising safety.”

Once approved by the FAA, JetBlue will begin allowing gate-to-gate personal electronics use. Airline customers are reminded to pay attention to inflight crewmember instructions at all times, including what should be stowed and what is safe to use during different phases of flight.

Read More: FAA allows wider onboard gadget use

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