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Airline passengers will soon be allowed to use a range of mobile electronic devices in flight with very few restrictions, US aviation authorities said Thursday.
The new, more relaxed rules issued by the Federal Aviation Administration will take effect on most airlines by the end of the year, the agency said.
"Passengers will eventually be able to read ebooks, play games and watch videos on their devices during all phases of flight, with very limited exceptions," the FAA said in a statement.
However, mobile phones still cannot be used for voice communications while in flight, due to regulations by another federal agency, the Federal Communications Commission, that prohibits airborne cellphone calls.
The new rules mean that passengers will be able to "safely use their devices in airplane mode, gate-to-gate," said the FAA.
Electronic items must be stowed in the seat pocket during takeoff and landing.
Browsing the Internet will still be possible on air carriers that provide Wi-Fi in flight, and Bluetooth technology for wireless keyboards will also be allowed.
The changes, which came after more than a year of study by outside experts on safety concerns related to portable electronic devices.