Nightly News   |  October 31, 2013

Passengers celebrate new FAA rules allowing in-flight electronics

Starting this year, there’s no need to power-down your cell phone, tablet, or electronic games when you fly. Phone calls and texting, however, are still banned. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> it may feel down right illegal at first. after all, for years we have been told to turn off and stow our electronic devices for taxi and takeoff until the aircraft reaches a cruising altitude, but no more. in something of a game changer a big decision came down from the faa today. while there are exceptions like actually talking on the phone for the most part you can go on playing your video game or using your device, reading your e book because it will not interfere with the aircraft navigation. it will likely turn out it never did. tom costello is live at miami international tonight. good evening.

>> reporter: this rule goes back to the 1950s . it was all about protecting the cockpit. the new rule is that these simple electronic devices pose no risk to modern aviation , it is welcome news to anyone who flies. on this halloween travel day with costumes on full display at the airport there was also a treat awaiting travellers.

>> at this time please turn off all cellular telephones and electronic devices .

>> reporter: that preflight announcement will soon be a thing of the past. no need to turn it down though your cell connection needs to remain off.

>> the policy i think strikes the appropriate balance between responding to what customers want but first and foremost insuring we have a safe environment.

>> reporter: an faa investigative committee found that vast majority of planes can tolerate radio interference from electronic devices . it is up to each airline to come up with its own policy for faa approval. that means by the end of the year all of us should be able to use electronic devices from take off to landing but in airplane mode. delta says it is ready starting tomorrow.

>> anything you hang on to, your e readers, tablets will be on your lap and used gate to gate.

>> reporter: it was welcome news at gate d 12 in miami today where stan lacey was multi tasking waiting to fly home to sacramento.

>> i tell them to power it down. if they say it is safe that is when it is safe.

>> reporter: this is great news for you.

>> you don't have to be a cop anymore.

>> while cell connections need to stay off you need to connect to the plane's wifi system which the airlines charge for. and there is another important point. they want you to keep your laptop stowed. the reason is these can become dangerous projectiles in an on board emergency and takeoffs and landings. even though you can listen to music they ask you to take out the ear buds when the flight attendant is making the preannouncement.