If you’re flying out for the holidays this season, chances are you’ll be able to play games the whole way.
The list of American airlines that support the use of some electronic devices–like a Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, tablet, and smartphone–from takeoff to landing is increasing after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) relaxed its rules in October. Before, they were only available for use after takeoff and before landing. The supported devices must have their cellular service turned off or be in airplane mode. Larger devices like laptops are still prohibited.
The rules don’t apply everywhere, though. Each airline must go through an extensive process to get approval, including subsidiaries. For example: SkyWest operates some of Alaska Airlines planes, but they haven’t been approved yet, so you won’t be able to boot up your 3DS as quick as you might think. The crew will instruct you if this is the case on your flight.
The major list of airlines–excluding subsidiaries–that allow gate-to-gate use of electronics includes: Delta Airlines, JetBlue, Virgin America, American Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, and Southwest Airlines. Some of the company’s were part of the 28-member board that created the new rules, effectively getting a head start.
The radio waves emitted by electronic devices were said to have interfered with airplane communication and navigation systems, causing them to make incorrect adjustments. But in Sept. 2013, an investigatory panel within the FAA publicly recommended the loosening of the rules.
The FAA said it spoke with several representatives from airlines, aviation manufacturers, passengers, pilots, flight attendants, and the mobile technology industry to determine that the devices no longer harmed planes.
So, when you’re deep into The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds this month, thank the FAA for letting you continue Link’s adventure.