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United becomes the latest airline to let customers use electronic devices gate-to-gate

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United Airlines jet
United Airlines jet

JetBlue and Delta were the first two airlines to let customers use electronic devices during takeoff and landing, and now United Airlines is joining the pack. The company announced today that it was providing "electronics-friendly cabins" for domestic flights, allowing passengers to use their phones, tablets, and other devices throughout the entire duration of a flight — provided they're in airplane mode, of course.

The shift comes after the Federal Aviation Administration officially allowed the use of electronic devices through all phases of flight, addressing a long-standing consumer complaint. For the moment, only United's mainline flights are included, but the company says it is working with its regional partners to bring the same opportunities to passengers on United Express flights by the end of 2013. Customers will still be expected to turn off their devices should they be instructed to by flight staff.

"I want to thank the FAA and Administrator Huerta for working with us so quickly to offer this great benefit to our customers," United vice chairman Jim Compton said in a statement. "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."