A federal appeals court says aviation officials acted within their authority in clearing passengers to use cellphone and other electronics during takeoffs and landings.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled Friday the government has always had discretion on how to handle issues such as portable electronics.

The nation’s largest flight attendants union said it wanted airline passengers to return to stowing cellphones and other electronics during takeoffs and landings.

The union argued that such devices can distract passengers from safety announcements and become dangerous projectiles. The union also said the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision in 2013 changed an agency regulation without steps required by law.

But the appeals court said the FAA was free to change its interpretation of the rules.

Tags: faa, in-flight
Photo Credit: A plane passenger checking her cell phone before a flight in Boston. Matt Slocum / Associated Press