Using electronic devices on planes

By | Category: Travel rumblings

Contrary to what you might have heard today in the media, the rules regarding the use of electronic devices on European airlines has not been relaxed.


Although the US regulators have relaxed the use, The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) will not publish its guidelines until the end of November 2013. Some of the media forgot to mention this part in their reports so don’t go expecting to get on a plane next week and expect a relaxation in the rules.

EASA said that when eventually it publishes its view it says that the guidance will extend to all phases of flight the possibility to use personal electronic devices (PED) such as tablets, smartphones, e-readers and mp3 players as long as the devices are in ‘Flight Mode’ or ‘Airplane Mode’. Current EASA guidance allows the use of PED on aircraft, except during taxiing, take-off and landing. Bulky PED such as laptop computers will need to be stowed during taxiing, take-off and landing. Notice that mobiles aren’t specifically mentioned in that statement.

With the new guidance an airline, “following its own assessment,” will be able to allow passengers to use their PED in ‘Flight Mode’ during all phases of flight. Again, will airlines have made their own assessment by the end of the month? So we passengers might have to wait a bit longer.

In the long term, EASA is looking at new ways to certify the use of mobile phones on-board aircraft to make phone calls. Why in the long-term? It seems EASA is behind in following current expert thinking on the impact of mobiles in flight. Surely the November advice could include that as well?

Remember this applies only to European airlines. Those from outside the US and Europe may have different guidelines.

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