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Mobile phones can be left on during flights, says EASA

The days of switching your mobile phone to flight mode the moment you step onto a flight may be soon be over after recent guidance from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The EASA – described as ‘the centrepiece of the European Union’s aviation safety system’ – has outlined that mobile phones can be left on during the course of a flight as part of new guidance on the use of portable electronic devices (PEDs).

Each airline will now need to decide whether they will adopt this guidance, first ensuring that transmission signals from PEDs will not in any way affect aircraft systems.

It is thought that the new guidance could pave the way for Wi-Fi services or ‘gate-to-gate’ telecommunication.

Spokesman Ilias Maragakis said: “We're basically opening the door where, in theory, you'll be able to continue making your phone call through the gate throughout the flight, like you would on a train.”

Commenting on EASA’s move in a BBC News article Transport Correspondent Richard Westcott said: “This move strips away the last regulatory hurdle stopping airline passengers in Europe from making phone calls or using wi-fi on any flight, even while taxiing.”

Airlines such as BA are already offering Wi-Fi on selected services, with those passengers travelling on the Club World London City service between London and New York able to access free Wi-Fi.

On its website the EASA offers the following advice to airline passengers in relation to PEDs:

  • If you are unsure on the use of PEDs, you may check the airline’s website prior to the flight.
  • Be reminded that the safety briefing provided by the airline crew is for your benefit. Please pay attention and listen carefully.
  • Airline crew may request at any time to switch-off all PEDs and to stow them.
  • Passengers have always to follow airline crew instructions as safety is the responsibility of everyone on board the aircraft.
  • Safety is everyone’s priority.

If you are flying off to a destination abroad in the coming weeks and months, it’s important to organise travel insurance in advance.

Date Created: 29 September 2014

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