Air travelers in the U.S. will soon be able to use their electronic devices throughout almost the entirety of their flights, although cellphone calls will still be prohibited.
For decades, U.S. airline passengers have been required to turn off various electronic gadgetry, including smartphones, computer tablets and other devices, when the doors of planes have been closed for takeoff.
But U.S. air safety officials said Thursday they are relaxing the rules, concluding that the devices do not interfere with the navigation and communication systems of modern aircraft.
The timing of the changes is being left up to individual air carriers, but the government's Federal Aviation Administration said most airlines would likely adopt them by the end of the year. Passengers will be allowed to use their technology devices to read, play games, watch movies and listen to music.
However, they still will be prohibited from surfing the Internet, exchanging emails and downloading data when planes are flying below 3,000 meters.