Passengers on Virgin and Qantas flights may now use phones in-flight

Passengers on Virgin and Qantas flights travelling around Australia will no longer need to turn off their mobile phones or tablets during take off and landing within a matter of weeks, following the Civil Aviation Safety Authority putting in new procedures for airlines to allow passengers to keep their devices switched on. The old rules required passengers to turn off mobiles during take off and landing, but, after investigation, and following the US and Europe, CASA has ruled that the devices can be left on, albeit in flight mode.

Air travellers in Australia may soon have uninterrupted access to their electronic devices from gate to gate, thanks to an easing of restrictions on using devices in the air. According to the aptly-titled “Airworthiness Bulletin” [PDF] released this month by Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the increased use of devices such as smartphones and tablets on the ground has led to an increased demand to use these devices in the air. While air passengers can currently use devices when their aircraft is at cruising altitude, they must be switched off for take-off and landing. “With the expanded use of PEDs e.g. ebook readers, tablet computers etc. in virtually all sectors of the community, the demand to extend that use during flight has increased,” CASA’s bulletin read. CASA provides guidance for airlines that would like to ease restrictions and allow for “expanded” device usage on flights. This includes detailed information on the transmitted radio frequency power of particular devices, and how this can interfere with an aircraft’s systems.

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