British Airways has confirmed that from the end of this week, passengers on its flights will be able to use their electronic gadgets during takeoff and landing. This lifts a long-standing ban on any electronic hardware being used at this time, and provides the opportunity for what’s known as, “Gate to Gate” usage.
What’s important to state is your phone, tablet or any other connected piece of equipment has to be in flight mode, so regardless of the new rules, no phone calls, text messaging or internet access will be possible. A BA flight training manager told the BBC the relaxed rules would provide, “An average of 30 minutes additional personal screen time.”
While we won’t be browsing the internet during these 30 minutes, we can continue reading, playing games, or presumably listen to music too. It’s not clear whether flight attendants will request the removal of headphones during the safety briefing, although it would seem sensible.
British Airways is the first European airline to allow its passengers to use electronics in this way, following the same change of rules in America earlier this year. The Civil Aviation Authority has approved the move, after BA would have supplied the regulators with proof there would be no safety issues.
Other airlines are sure to follow British Airways’ example, but none have made any statements yet. The new rules come into play on BA’s flights from today.