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BA to allow gadget use during take-off and landing

British Airways has become the first European airline to confirm it will allow passengers to use gadgets during take-off and landing.

While the use of electronic devices on aircraft is currently limited, with no use allowed during periods of take-off and landing, BA has followed a number of US carries in relaxing its stance on gadget use.

Although restrictions are being loosened, those looking to use devices during take-off and landing will have to ensure that gadgets are in a flight safe mode so as not to interfere with the aircraft’s navigation systems. The move has had to be approved by the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority which regulates use of electronics on airplanes.

The easing of restrictions will provide an average of 30 minutes’ additional personal screen time,” BA’s Flight Training Manager Ian Pringle said of the announcement.

He added: “With around 300 people on a long-haul flight that will mean a combined total of approximately 150 hours’ extra viewing, reading or working.”

Although many are sure to be pleased by the extended gadget use, some have raised concerns over passengers being less alert to emergencies due to increased distractions.

“If there is an incident it is most likely historically, on the evidence available, to take place either on departure or landing,” parliamentary advisor Laurie Price told the BBC. “Any distraction is not the best use of your time just in case you need to do something in the interests of safety.”

Price added: “This kind of activity has probably been happening surreptitiously anyway, so they are merely formalising what has been occurring – and policing it has been difficult. But if you are taking off or about to land in an aeroplane you should probably be concentrating on that event just in case anything were to go awry.”

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