Qantas and Virgin loosen their in-flight phone rules

Stuart O'Connor Gadgets, Mobile phones, Smartphones, Tablet Leave a Comment

The airlines Qantas and Virgin Australia will now allow passengers to keep phones and other electronic devices powered on during flights.

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Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority has approved applications from both airlines that will allow passengers to keep their phones, tablets and e-readers on even during take-off and landing.

The devices will need to remain in “flight mode” throughout the flight.

Devices weighing more than 1kg, such as laptops, will still need to be stored for take off and landing. Smaller devices will need to be held by a passenger or secured in the pocket of a garment or the magazine pocket on the back of the seat.

A Virgin Australia spokesman said that the airline would allow gate-to-gate use of personal electronic devices on domestic and short-haul international flights, including on Boeing 737, Embraer 190 and Airbus 330 aircraft.

The new guidelines bring Australia in line with policies already in place in some of the world’s largest airlines.

Both the US and European air regulators last year expanded guidelines for the use of electronic devices after finding the radio interference signals from mobile phones and tablets on board aircraft were not a safety concern.

Aircraft are now designed and manufactured so that smartphones and other electronic devices do not interfere with with flights.

The next step, of course, will be allowing passengers to use the internet and make phone calls while in flight. One day. One day …

By Stuart O'Connor | August 26th, 2014