(CNN) — Airplane travelers will soon be able to watch videos and play games with their electronic devices throughout their flights — and not just above a certain altitude — the Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday in a long-anticipated announcement.
But don’t expect to be chatting on your cell phone. A ban on using cell phones for voice communication remains in effect.
The FAA, following months of study by a group of aviation experts, said Thursday that airlines can now allow passengers to use portable electronic devices such as tablets, laptop computers, e-readers and cell phones in airplane mode throughout the flight — with some circumstantial restrictions.
Until now, passengers in the United States were prohibited from using the devices until their plane rose above 10,000 feet. The timing of the changes will depend on individual airlines, but an FAA statement said it 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.”