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Portable Electronic Devices Aboard Aircraft

Program Description

In October 2004, CEA unveiled a "recommended practice" intended to facilitate disabling and enabling of transmitters in wireless devices and provide common symbols and terminology. The document was the result of collaborative, cross-industry work by CEA's PEDs Working Group, which included device manufacturers, airlines and representatives from flight attendant and pilot organizations. 

In January 2007, CEA published a revised version of the recommended practice in the form of a standards bulletin, CEA-CEB18Recommended Practice for Transmitter Control and Status Indication in Transmitting Portable Electronic Devices (T-PEDs).  This document was developed under the auspices of CEA's R7 Home Network Committee. 

CEA-CEB18 sets forth a series of provisions that collectively constitute a feature set outlining terminology and indicators to determine transmit and operational status of transmitting portable electronic devices (T-PEDs) and facilitate ease of operation in controlling transmitters in T-PEDs to aid in managing their use in sensitive electronic environments. For the purposes of this recommended practice, T-PEDs are considered to be handheld mobile communication or computing devices for sale to the general public that intentionally transmit a radiofrequency (RF) wireless signal. A pair of graphics symbols associated with a recommended practice intended to facilitate disabling and enabling of transmitters in wireless devices and provide common symbols and terminology for the industry.

Quotes From Interested Parties, October 2004:

"The concept set forth in CEA's Recommended Practice - Status Indicator for and Control of Transmitters in Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) will greatly enhance the flight crew's ability to ensure the proper use of wireless devices where permitted on board aircraft and also assist the flying public in complying with airline policies for portable electronic devices."

–David Correia
Flight Standards Service
Federal Aviation Administration

"Northwest Airlines, Inc. supports the Consumer Electronics Association's Recommended Practice for transmitting portable electronic devices. Widespread compliance with the Recommended Practice by the consumer electronics industry and air transport industry provides for consistency in device operation, symbology, and terminology for a common passenger and flight crew understanding of transmitting portable electronic devices. Compliance with the practice benefits the traveling public and the airlines by removing the confusion surrounding transmitting devices being carried on board commercial aircraft today."

–Northwest Airlines, Inc

"We are pleased to have worked with CEA and its Portable Electronic Devices Working Group during the development of this Recommended Practice. As QUALCOMM continues to work closely with the aviation industry to ensure the use of safe and reliable communications within aircraft cabins, we recognize the practical benefit the Recommended Practice offers to consumers, manufacturers and the airline community."


"Continental Airlines, Inc. supports the Recommended Practice developed by the Consumer Electronics Association's Portable Electronic Devices Working Group. The broad and rapid adoption of this voluntary document by device manufacturers and the air transport industry should improve on board management of portable electronic devices for both passengers as well as flight crew."

–Continental Airlines, Inc.

"The CEA Recommended Practice aligns well with palmOne's philosophy of simplifying the end-user experience: it provides fundamental recommendations for making it easier to put devices into situation-specific states and identifying that state. The practice promotes and reinforces the functionality and ease of use that are hallmarks of palmOne devices."


"American Airlines encourages the standardization of displays for wireless indicators on personal electronic devices. We believe that consistency of displays will benefit our customers as well as our flight crews who enforce our safety rules and regulations."

–American Airlines

"Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications (USA) Inc., a global communications company, supports the work initiated by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) to develop a consistent and easily identifiable symbol which indicates that a wireless device's transmitter is disabled, making it easy to recognize these devices within environments that do not permit wireless RF transmission. Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications encourages consistent terminology to be used and understood by the airline and wireless technology industries with regard to portable electronic devices."

–Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications

"The RTCA Special Committee 202 appreciates the efforts of the Consumer Electronics Association in creating new and unambiguous symbology to inform users of portable electronic devices (PEDs) when active transmitting circuits in those devices have been turned off. This new technology represents an important step in on-going collaborative efforts between electronics manufacturers and those organizations concerned with enhancing both aircraft safety and utility to the traveling public."

–RTCA Special Committee 202 Co-Chairs
David Carson (Boeing Commercial Airplanes) and Jamie Fowler (US Airways)

''With the proliferation of new multi-function electronic devices with wireless transmitters, including cell phones, laptop computers and PDAs, airline crew and passengers are often not sure whether transmitters on a given device are on, or capable of being turned on inadvertently. Many travelers want to use these devices in-flight to write letters, check appointments, listen to music or play video games. The purpose of this Recommended Practice is to give passengers and crew, during those in-flight periods when non-transmitting electronic devices are allowed, a clear, consistent indication that wireless transmitters are truly disabled.''

–Association of Flight Attendants
(From AFA press release, ''AFA Supports Recommendations for Portable Electronic Devices'')