We announced more than a year ago that mobile phones onboard and it looks like it’s finally becoming a reality, very soon! Mobile phones, tablets and e-readers will indeed be allowed in-flight… as long as their users keep the noise down!
It all started in October when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) gave its approval for the use of video game consoles and tablets onboard planes. In November, the European Aviation Safety Agency took it a step further and agreed to allow the use of electronic devices on all passenger flights, at all times of the flight: take off and landing included.
Starting next year, all passengers should be able to use their mobile devices on all flights in European airspace!
Siim Kallas, the EU Transport Commissioner commented,
“Today we are taking a first step to safely expand the use of in-flight electronics during taxiing, take-off and landing. Next we want to look at how to connect to the network while on board.”
Mr. Kallas is referring to 3G and 4G mobile networks here, a service which should be approved in the coming year and available for passengers on flights cruising at 3,000 metres but for now, very few aircraft are even outfitted with the technology to make this happen.
Phones on but with some restrictions
Peaceful flights: It’s true, this new “advancement” was not welcome by everybody. In the US, the American Association for Cabin Crew strongly opposed the idea and even sent a petition to the White House. They feared it would disturb fellow passengers.
“I think our journeys should be peaceful as well as safe. But that will be up to individual airlines to decide”.
noted the commissioner, who seems to think that mobile phones could be restricted to silent operations like texting and email but how are stewards and stewardesses supposed to prevent passengers from using their mobile phones to their liking?
Security: The captain on every flight is in charge and he or she will retain the right to decide when and if passengers should turn off all devices.
“The power to stay connected, even while travelling, is what everyone wants but security remains the top priority.”
If the captain gives the word to shut down and turn off, then all should comply, insists Siim Kallas.
Readers, what do you think?