It's official: by the end of 2013, flight attendants will stop asking you to turn off your Game Boy during the first and last few minutes of plane rides in the US.
If you haven't used a Game Boy since 2003, that's OK too. All electronics will soon be allowed during landing and takeoff, although you still can't make mobile phone calls during flights.
The US Federal Aviation Administration had been considering ditching the antiquated "no electronics during landing and takeoff" rule for quite some time now, and today they officially scrapped it. Here's the press release:
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 aeroplane mode, gate-to-gate, by the end of the year.
The FAA based its decision on input from a group of experts that included representatives from the airlines, aviation manufacturers, passengers, pilots, flight attendants, and the mobile technology industry.
Passengers will eventually be able to read e-books, play games, and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions. Electronic items, books and magazines, must be held or put in the seat back pocket during the actual takeoff and landing roll. Cell phones should be in aeroplane mode or with cellular service disabled — i.e., no signal bars displayed — and cannot be used for voice communications based on FCC regulations that prohibit any airborne calls using cell phones. If your air carrier provides Wi-Fi service during flight, you may use those services. You can also continue to use short-range Bluetooth accessories, like wireless keyboards.