7 OCTOBER 2013


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Article from BTNews 7 OCTOBER 2013

In-flight phone rules

The rules on when to turn off electronic devices on aeroplanes have long been a sour, and sometimes contentious, point for travellers.  Different airlines, different rules; different countries, different rules.  All on the same route.

The US Federal Aviation Administration has taken the problem in hand with an advisory panel likely to recommend relaxing restrictions on electronic devices during flights.

Clear guidelines are expected to allow reading e-books or other publications, listening to podcasts, and watching videos.  The ban on sending and receiving e-mails and text messages or using wi-fi during takeoff or landing is expected to remain in place.  Using ‘cell phones’ is a vexed question with in-flight Skype possible. 

The panel will recommend its new policy to the FAA by the end of the month and it will most likely go into effect next year.  Other countries will probably follow.  In Europe Ryanair has dropped its mobile phone project.

Airlines and pilots have reported hundreds of instances over the years where they suspect electronic devices caused some cockpit instruments to malfunction.  But the evidence is largely anecdotal, and regulators have never been able to establish conclusively that electronic devices interfered with flight instruments.  Sally Gethin will be ON TOUR with in-flight connectively later in the month. www.ryanair.com

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