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Aviation authority clears smartphones for in-flight use

Luke Johnson

by

BA

One of your few respites from the draw of your smartphone could be about to disappear as the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) clears mobile phones for in-flight use.

Despite passengers having previously been warned to set their phone’s to flight safe mode before turning them off, lest they cause the plane to redirect itself to some distant land, EASA has now deemed it perfectly ok to use your phone while aboard an aircraft.

“EASA has been working towards enabling airlines to allow the use of these devices with freedom comparable to that in other modes of transport, for example in trains,” an official statement from the European Aviation Safety Agency read.

It added: “This has been achieved. EASA has made it possible for airlines to allow passengers to use their PEDs throughout the flight, regardless of whether the device is transmitting or not, i.e. in ‘aeroplane mode’ or not.”

Despite passing regulatory approval, however, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can start using your phone in-flight right away. EASA’s guidelines are fed to airlines which can make their own decisions on whether or not to permit the use of such devices.

“It is up to each airline to allow the use of PEDs or not,” the EASA spokesperson stated. “In order to do this, airlines will have to go through an assessment process, ensuring aircraft are not affected in any way by the transmission of signals from the PEDs.”

They added: “For safety reasons, EASA describes certain conditions for using such devices on board aircraft operated by European airlines.

“Based on these conditions, airlines may describe when PEDs can be used. In other words, airlines may be more restrictive than the EASA provisions are. Because it is a decision of each airline, you may experience differences among airlines whether and when PEDs can be used. In addition, you may experience differences within one airline depending on the aircraft type.”

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