Airlines across Europe have been cleared to allow passengers' use of mobile phones and portable electronic devices (PEDs) throughout flights. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said there would be no restrictions in place from a safety perspective - a long-held reason for devices to be turned off or placed in airplane mode.
EASA says mobiles, smartphones and PEDs can be used after airlines follow a safety assessment process.
PEDs are defined as including any kind of electronic device brought on board the aircraft by a passenger such as a tablet, laptop, smartphone, an e-reader or a MP3 player.
As a result, passengers will be able to use their PEDs just like in any other mode of transport - throughout the trip, EASA said.
But travelers must still wait for airlines to decide their policy, as specialist communications packages must be installed to allow phone connections at cruising altitude.
It is up to each airline to decide to allow the use of PEDs. In order to do this, the airline will have to go through an assessment process, ensuring aircraft systems are not affected in any way by the transmission signals from the PEDs, EASA said.
For this reason, there may be differences among airlines whether and when PEDs can be used.
This is the latest regulatory step towards enabling the ability to offer so-called gate-to-gate telecommunication or wifi services for air travelers.
However, it remains unclear if all airlines will embrace the new freedom as they need to juggle business travelers' desire for non-stop communications or the existing blackout once aircraft are out of cell tower range.
Some airlines may even segregate seating similar to that in train carriages with 'quiet zones'. The new freedom does not yet give travelers unfettered use of devices.
EASA said: Passengers must at all times follow the airline crew instructions. Safety always comes first onboard of an aircraft.
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Instead of ”I'm on the train dear' it will be 'I'm on the 'plane dear'.Sep 27th, 2014 - 05:31 pm 0
What a thrilling experience that will be, NOT.
@1 I am dreading it if they allow it on long haul. Imagine. Boring geezers walking up and down club class, elbows stuck out as they speak about nothing important in a loud voice. I get enough of it in the airport lounges. I have been close to inserting their phones where the sun doesn't shine.Sep 28th, 2014 - 06:36 pm 0
This will make flying a budget airline that little bit closer to hell.Sep 29th, 2014 - 08:12 am 0