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Southwest approved for electronic devices

One by one, airlines have begun allowing passengers to expand the use of personal electronic devices since the Federal Aviation Administration said it would start approving applications. So far, more than a dozen airlines have received at least partial approval.

Southwest, SkyWest, GoJet and Miami Air are the latest to get the OK, an FAA spokesperson said Wednesday.

Southwest Airlines on Wednesday adopted the new FAA rules and asserted it was worth the wait. "Southwest is the only airline that offers a gate-to-gate connectivity on the majority of our fleet," the airline stated on its website. The approval also covers all flights of Southwest subsidiary AirTran, a Southwest spokesman told CNBC in an email.

GoJet has approval for gate-to-gate device use only on flights it operates for Delta Connection. "We expect approval on our United flights in the near future," company spokesman Jaime Ludwig told CNBC in an email.

SkyWest on Nov. 14 received approval from the FAA for the CRJ aircraft in its fleet, a company spokesperson told CNBC by email.

All-charter Miami Air International confirmed Wednesday that it had FAA approval.

Horizon Air, which is owned by Alaska Air Group, secured approval on Nov. 12.

ExpressJet, which flies some regional routes for Delta Connection, American Eagle and United Express, received FAA approval for all its flights as of Nov. 8, a company spokeswoman confirmed to CNBC.

Alaska Airlines said Nov. 8 that passengers on its mainline flights could use devices starting the following day, but approval is still pending for its flights operated by SkyWest.

US Airways said Nov. 7 that "customers on US Airways domestic mainline flights will now be permitted to use small PEDs during all phases of flight." Its US Airways Express flights do not have FAA approval, except for those served by PSA Airlines, which was OK'd on Nov. 8.

On Nov. 6, United Airlines adopted the new rules on all domestic mainline flights arriving or departing within the 50 states. The rules do not apply to United Express flights, (except for ExpressJet which got the OK on Nov. 8), but United said it is working with its other regional partners to make that happen by year-end.

American Airlines on Nov. 4 said the new rules apply to "American's entire mainline fleet as well as regional aircraft operated by American Eagle Airlines." It does not yet apply to American Eagle flights operated by SkyWest, Republic Airline or Chautauqua Airlines, American spokesman Matt Miller told CNBC. American Eagle flights operated by ExpressJet Airlines got the OK Nov. 8.

Delta Air Lines as of Nov. 1 allows "portable electronic devices below 10,000 feet on mainline U.S. domestic flights," according to its website. Delta Connection's 550-plus regional aircraft are in the process of receiving approval; of those, Endeavor AirCompass Airlines and ExpressJet received approval Nov. 8.

JetBlue on Nov. 1 "adopted the new rule completely, all JetBlue flights," company spokesman Mike Miller told CNBC.

The FAA has received a handful of other plans and hopes to approve them quickly, agency spokeswoman Kristie Greco said.

Many airline officials said they think they are on the verge of approval, while others are aiming for the end of the year. Frontier Airlines is "hoping to implement this change in December," a company spokesperson told CNBC by email.

The new rules generally add the ability for passengers to use their smartphones, e-readers, electronic games and tablets during taxi, takeoff and landing as long as the device is in airplane mode with cellular service disabled. Voice calls remain prohibited, and laptops must still be stowed for taxi, takeoff and landing.

(Read more: FAA OKs passenger gadget use on planes)

The FAA, in its announcement Oct. 31, said there would be only limited exceptions to the new rules.

"In rare instances of low-visibility, the crew will instruct passengers to turn off their devices during landing," it said.

The new rules, the FAA made clear, do not yet apply to all passengers.

"Due to differences among fleets and operations, the implementation will vary among airlines, but 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 agency said.

(Read more: Where to find airport Wi-Fi for free)

The American Eagle rollout is one early example of how the new system may be confusing. Since some American Eagle regional flights are operated by other airlines, those flights will be certified by the FAA. The approvals are expected by the end of the year, Matt Miller said. (Passengers can find out by checking the "operated by" line on their flight status notification on, he said.)

The same goes for Delta's nine carries operating under the Delta Connection banner, according to Delta Air Lines spokesman Paul Skrbec.

(Read more: Business travel expected to rise in 2014)

But where the new rules are in place, there is happiness in the land.

"Customer feedback has been terrific. We've had more than one instance of customers cheering on planes," Skrbec said.

"It has gone swimmingly as far as I'm aware," American's Miller said a day after the new rules were adopted. The airline will have to change its safety videos, but in the meantime the flight crew is providing guidance to passengers about the new rules.

Follow Amy Langfield on Twitter at @AmyLangfield.