Pilots Cautiously Embracing New FAA Rules on In-Flight Mobile Device Usage

Pilots Cautiously Embracing New FAA Rules on In-Flight Mobile Device UsageAs MMW reported Thursday, the FAA’s official new position on mobile device use in-flight means that airplane travelers will soon see restrictions lifted on most electronic devices throughout their entire flight.

As a result, the Air Line Pilots Association issued a statement Friday morning in response to the somewhat controversial decision.

As members of the FAA’s Aviation Rulemaking Committee (ARC), ALPA safety representatives contributed their expertise to help create the expanded guidelines.

The statement reads as follows:

ALPA has consistently supported the expanded inflight use of PEDs, as long as it can be shown to be safe—this was ALPA’s goal in participating and remains our top priority. Use of PEDs must be free of any interference with onboard systems and with crewmembers’ ability to perform their safety duties. We believe that PEDs, like other loose items in the cabin, need to be stowed for takeoff and landing to ensure safety, and we are encouraged by the FAA’s emphasis of that need.

While we applaud the FAA’s view that PED use must be shown to be safe before being allowed, we remain concerned that relying on passengers to selectively turn off their devices in areas of extremely poor weather is not a practical solution. We urge passengers to realize the potential seriousness of using a device at a time when any crewmember—pilot or flight attendant—has advised them that it is unsafe to do so.

ALPA remains committed to the safe operation of aircraft at all times, and as such, we stand ready to continue our collaboration with airlines, other industry partners, and regulators to ensure that as PED use is gradually phased in, it is done with safety as the top priority.

Do you agree with the FAA’s decision to relax rules for in-flight mobile device usage?