"HELLO, I'M ON A PLANE. YES, IT'S PERFECTLY SAFE!!"
The ban on the use of phones and laptops could be set to end, after a US scientific study found no reason why they should be turned off at take-off and landing.
The study, conducted on behalf of the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) by the Aviation Rulemaking Committee concluded that portable electronic devices (PEDs) such as smartphones, laptops, tablets and e-readers could be used safely while a plane is taxiing, taking off and landing, as well as at cruising altitude.
Air travellers will be familiar with the drill telling us to turn off all mobiles, Kindles and calculators (ok, maybe not calculators) during take-off. If you didn't know, the rule is that once the plane reaches an altitude of 10,000 feet, you are allowed to use your device. We'll have all witnessed a member of the cabin crew uphold the rules by telling a fellow passenger to turn off their PED, and seen people get their phones out as soon as the plane hits the tarmac.
The reason for the ban on PEDs is officially, according to the FAA:
'There are many uncertainties about the radio signals the devices give off. Even PEDs that do not intentionally transmit signals can emit unintentional radio energy. This energy may affect aircraft safety because the signals can occur at the same frequencies used by the plane’s highly sensitive communications, navigation, flight control and electronic equipment.
This is to prevent potential interference that could pose a safety hazard as the cockpit crew focuses on arrival and departure duties. On a given flight, there could be hundreds of different PEDs in many different states of function or repair giving off spurious signals, so without proper testing there is no assurance they will not produce interference during these critical phases of flight.'
The FAA is set to implement new guidelines following the findings of the ARC study, allowing passengers to read e-books, listen to podcasts or watch videos throughout a flight. News agency Reuters reports that the new policy will be implemented next year in the US. The UK's Civil Aviation Authority is expected to follow suit.
HOWEVER, the ban on using your phone to text or make calls is expected to remain in place.
In a recent Skyscanner survey*:
• 61% of respondents said they’d use their mobile for calls and texts during flight if allowed
• 71% turn their phone back on before security
• A third turn on their phones as soon as they touch down
• Just 6% resist the temptation until they get home
• 52% would pick Wi-Fi over traditional in-flight entertainment
*Source: 1000 international respondents via One Poll survey
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