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Staying "connected" in-flight
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Published on 9-12-13

Passengers should soon be able to keep their smartphones, tablets, e-readers and other electronic devices switched on in non-transmitting "flight mode" throughout their plane journey following new safety advice from the EU's Aviation Safety Agency.  Currently, electronic devices have to be completely turned off during taxiing, take-off and landing. 

    Staying "connected" in-flight

    The updated safety guidance published today refers to portable electronic devices (PED) such as mobile phones, electronic readers, tablets, personal computers, laptops, MP3 players etc and means passengers will for the first time be allowed to use personal electronic devices in flight mode in all phases of the journey, from gate to gate, unless flight or cabin crew instruct otherwise.

    It is now up to European airlines to update their operating rules*. Many are expected to do so in the coming weeks.

    However, passengers must always follow the safety instructions of the crew and passengers should also give their full attention during the safety briefing and they may ask you to stow away heavy items during take-off and landing.

    When may I use my smartphone, tablet, e-reader or music player?

    Flight mode "on"

    Flight mode "off"

    On the ground (taxiing)

    YES, but do pay attention to the safety briefing and stow away heavy items before take-off

    NO

    Take-off

    YES

    NO

    Cruising

    YES

    YES but only in specially equipped aircraft and when crew allows it

    Next steps

    EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas has asked the EU's Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to accelerate the review of the safe use of transmitting devices on board - with new guidance to be published in the coming months.

    In general, airlines do not currently allow phone or wi-fi connection from the time the aircraft doors have closed until the aircraft has arrived at the gate and the doors are open again.

    *Note: The updated EU guidance applies only to European airlines, but it is not mandatory.  Any airline may opt for a more restrictive policy on the use of PEDs. Non-EU airlines follow the PED regulations of their country's civil aviation authority.

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    Last update: 11/12/2013  |Top