JetBlue is poised to introduce new procedures allowing gate-to-gate use of portable electronic devices on its flights within hours, and Delta’s new procedures on its mainline aircraft could come as soon as 12:01 a.m. on Friday.
Both airlines were members of the Portable Electronic Devices Aviation, which made recommendations to the FAA, leading to today’s announcement about airlines getting the green light to test their aircraft about usage of the PEDs.
UPDATE: JetBlue told Skift at 5:45 p.m. EST: “We are awaiting feedback from the FAA. Once we have approval, we will implement immediately.”
Both JetBlue and Delta already filed their paperwork with the FAA and tested their aircraft, seemingly getting a leg up on their competitors in part because of their participation on the panel.
Delta is waiting for feedback from the FAA this afternoon, and has communicated to crews that the changes could be implemented at 12:01 a.m. Friday pending the approval.
In a nutshell, passengers would get around 20 to 30 minutes of additional time to use their portable electronic devices, Delta spokesperson Paul Skrbec said.
Delta is already in the process of changing its flight-safety video to reflect the new rules, but it will take time before it is ready to shown on flights, Skrbec said.
In the interim, crew members will point out to passengers what parts of the safety video are out of date, he said.
Virgin America plans to introduce new procedures for electronic devices in November, but hasn’t set a specific date.
Alaska Airlines says the rules would take at least another two weeks to implement.
American Airlines said it will submit its PED plans to the FAA tomorrow regarding its mainline aircraft, and that it will take until the end of 2013 to make the same sorts of changes on the regional airlines it works with.
Henry Harteveldt, travel industry analyst at Hudson Crossing, said he doubts that JetBlue’s and Delta’s getting out of the gate early on the new device procedures will turn into any market share gains.
“But it does bolster the image of the airline as a passenger-friendly airline if they are fast to market because it removes a hassle from the passenger experience,” Harteveldt said.
He added that the changes across the U.S. airline industry will be confusing to passengers because of their uneven, patchwork nature.