American Airlines and United Airlines announced this week both will allow passengers traveling out of Puerto Rico’s Luis Muñoz Marín Airport to use their approved portable electronic devices from gate-to-gate.
Both carriers obtained approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to allow passengers to remain connected to their smartphones, e-readers, games and tablets during taxi, takeoff and landing, unless otherwise instructed by a crewmember. In most cases, laptops must remain stored during takeoff and landing.
“We’re delighted that our customers are now able to use their handheld portable electronic devices gate to gate,” said Jon Snook, American’s senior vice president of customer service. “We know that our customers have wanted additional access to their personal devices on their flights, and we’ve been working with the FAA for some time to make this a reality. We’re excited to be able to deliver this to our customers because of the FAA’s expeditious approval.”
Passengers may still be asked to turn off their electronic devices in certain situations, such as low-visibility operations, and are reminded to carefully follow crew member instructions at all times. Voice calls from cell phones or VoIP-enabled devices are also still prohibited during taxiing, takeoff, landing and while the aircraft is in flight, United said.
“I want to thank the FAA and Administrator Huerta for working with us so quickly to offer this great benefit to our customers,” said Jim Compton, vice chairman and chief revenue officer at United. “Safely expanding the use of portable electronic devices is one of the many ways United is working to deliver a more user-friendly travel experience for our customers.”
Because many aircraft are already Wi-Fi enabled, passengers will be able to tap into the service with their handheld devices, at an additional cost, when available.