Alec Baldwin can now play as much Words with Friends on the plane as he’d like.
Baldwin, and the millions of us who like to use our smartphones, tablets and laptops on the plane, can now use devices from the moment we step onto a plane until the moment we leave.
The FAA announced Thursday that, based on months of analysis and studies from experts, airlines can allow passengers to use any electronic device — with “very limited exceptions” — whenever they’d like.
However, your cell phone should still be in “airplane mode,” while flying, and you are not allowed to make cell phone calls in the air.
From this point, the FAA is leaving it up to airlines to determine how they adapt its new recommendations, but it “expects many carriers will prove to the FAA that their planes allow passengers to safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year.”
So there you have it: Get ready to check your email, play Candy Crush and send as many selfies as you please while up in the clouds.
Update, 9:30 a.m. — Just got off the phone with Paul McElroy, spokesman for Alaska Airlines. He told us that while the airline wishes they could allow customers to use their devices right away, it’s going to take some time to make the proper changes. For example, Alaska Airlines needs conduct further testing that the FAA requires and update its operations manuals, passenger emergency cards and captain PA announcements.
“We are looking forward to giving customers more flexibility and are eager to do so,” McElroy said. “We appreciate their patience while we take care of these final steps.”