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Published on : Thursday, October 31, 2013
JetBlue Airways today announced that it has begun the process with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in order 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.”