By Gregory Karp
CHICAGO -- U.S. airline passengers soon will be able to continue reading their Kindles and playing on their iPhones and iPads during takeoffs and landings.
The Federal Aviation Administration on Thursday cleared gadgets for takeoff by saying they will be allowed to be used in "airplane mode" during all phases of flight "very soon," according to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. The FAA is immediately issuing guidance to airlines on how to implement the change, which will vary among airlines.
The rule change will still not allow voice phone calls from wireless phones.
"The agency 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," the FAA said in a statement. It's unclear how many airlines would implement the change in time for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday travel season.
"We already started work to implement this as safely and quickly as possible, and are excited to offer this new benefit because our customers tell us they want to use their portable electronic devices," said United Airlines spokesman Luke Punzenberger.