Oh, how we hate having to switch electronic devices off on a flight. Waiting to be re-connected after you take off or land can be a total bore – but it looks like things are about to change. European travelers gong on vacation will soon be able to use their electronic gadgets for the entire duration of their flights, thanks to changes announced recently by Europe’s air safety agency, otherwise known as EASA.
Currently, we know that passengers are only able to use personal electronic devices once the plane has fully taken off but the EASA has announced that travellers will soon be able to use their gadgets during take-off and landing as well. It is estimated that a full list of devices able to be used on aeroplanes will be released towards the end of November.
“Hurray!” we hear you cry. This is no doubt very welcome news indeed to frequent travellers. Gone will be the days of stowing away your e-reader whilst those around you continue to read their paper books. With e-readers and tablets having taken such a prominent place in many people’s lives, not being able to use them can be very inconvenient and many passengers find themselves sitting and twiddling their thumbs waiting for their plane to take off before they can once again immerse themselves in their latest purchase. For those who are afraid of flying it might also perhaps provide a welcome distraction. It will also no doubt be great news for business travellers who will now be able to make the most of their time in the air.
The reason behind these alterations to air safety rules follows extensive research which concluded that the majority of commercial aeroplanes can handle the radio interference signals which electronic devices such as smart phones, tablets and e-readers emit. If airline companies wish to allow their passengers to use their personal electronic devices they must first assess whether their aeroplanes can tolerate the radio interference. Once they have done this then they must apply to the UK Civil Aviation Authority to receive the go ahead. It is thought that the first approvals will start to take place in the next few months.
When an airline has received the necessary approval, passengers will be free to use their smart devices as long as they are in ‘flight mode’. Ultimately though, the decision over whether passengers can use their devices lies with the individual airline companies and not with the EASA. This is true if you are going on a Coast Rica tour as well.
The sad news is that no changes are being made to the rules over calls and texts being made during flights, although the EASA have indicated that they are looking into this as a possibility for the future. This is a big factor for many people who want to use their phones during flight for texts and internet. Currently, the plane has to land before being allowed access to connect. This can be a nuisance for business travellers who want to stay in touch with their email service. Providers like www.mobi-data.co.uk will allow you to connect to high speed internet from anywhere in the world as soon as you land, and it would be great to see this service in the air too.
In any case, it is a step in the right direction. It is very exciting to think of the advances being made in aeroplane technology and that making calls during flights might be a tangible possibility in the not too distant future. Although this may not be welcome news to those looking to travel in peace and quiet!