BA allows gadget use during take-off and landings

 
BA flight Passengers will be able to continue reading an e-book during take-off

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British Airways will allow passengers to use handheld devices placed in "flight safety" mode from gate to gate for the first time from Thursday.

It will be the first airline in Europe to end a ban on the use of gadgets during take-offs and landings.

Several US carriers have already implemented the move.

Use of phones, e-readers and other electronics on BA flights is regulated by the UK's Civil Aviation Authority, which had to approve the move.

"The easing of restrictions will provide an average of 30 minutes' additional personal screen time," said BA flight training manager Ian Pringle.

iPhone flight safety mode Gadget owners will have to switch their devices into flight safety mode to continue using them

"With around 300 people on a long-haul flight that will mean a combined total of approximately 150 hours' extra viewing, reading or working."

The firm had previously become the first European airline to allow travellers to power up their electronics just after landing, while its planes were still taxiing to the terminal.

However, one expert who advises Parliament on aviation issues had doubts about the wisdom of the latest move.

"This kind of activity has probably been happening surreptitiously anyway, so they are merely formalising what has been occurring - and policing it has been difficult," Laurie Price told the BBC.

"But if you are taking off or about to land in an aeroplane you should probably be concentrating on that event just in case anything were to go awry.

"If there is an incident it is most likely historically, on the evidence available, to take place either on departure or landing. Any distraction is not the best use of your time just in case you need to do something in the interests of safety."

 

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 133.

    It would worry me a little when you consider terrorists use mobile phones as remote detonators.

  • Comment number 132.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 131.

    Well just when you are supposed to watch the safety video, you can distract yourself with your gadgets. Far more important ? Hope you know where the exits are !

  • rate this
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    Comment number 130.

    Can I now use my Playstation Vita, PSP and 3DS then? WHat I used to do was turn off the wifi capability before taking off.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 129.

    @phillwuk You mean volcanic ash cloud where there is documented evidence of ash causing engine failure (BA flight 9, 1982). Air safety has (and should) always erred on the side of caution. It always amazed me when I was crew how blase people are about air safety, and think that the rules are there for arbitrary reasons, just to annoy them.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 128.

    Well done BA. It makes no sense to stop people reading electronic books on a kindle for example whilst allowing immediate neighbours with paper versions of the same book to continue doing the same thing

    However, intrusive noise might become a problem and I would hope that BA will act to prevent self important passengers making the rest of us miserable with their racket.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 127.

    @Matthew (125) A passenger found using a PED who doesn't switch it off when requested to do so by the cabin crew is in breach of Air Navigation Orders for failure to follow the lawful command of the Commander (commands from Cabin Crew are treated as from the Commander) and is liable to a fine or refused carriage. The law is there, but it's only invoked in extreme cases.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 126.

    This reminds me of the volcanic cloud where one 'expert' said that it had had no affect on the engines / windscreen etc. and another said that the planes would simply fall out of the sky... If 'planes were so susceptible to such things as mobile phones, terrorists would not require bombs! There seems to be more problems with the battery packs and multimedia systems :)

  • rate this
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    Comment number 125.

    Interesting idea and I know I may get arrested for this, but last March on a KLM from CWL to Vienna, I noticed a person with what appeared to be Bluetooth, so I switched on my Bluetooth and did a scan, I picked up his device, now what are airlines going to do about all those really expensive Bluetooth head phone user's, something need to be done including if needed on the spot fines!!!

  • rate this
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    Comment number 124.

    Common sense at last! I use to fly twice a week for many years and never once switched off my phone, just put it on mute. Nothing ever happened as if mobiles and other electronic devices were dangerous they would be placed into the hold.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 123.

    Fantastic so now we are one step away from gobby sitting next to me shouting down the phone all the way to wherever I go to next. Let's be right some people can't wait til the plane has stopped so they can update there status. Lord help us

  • Comment number 122.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 121.

    Quite sad when people cannot live without gadgets for the duration of take-off and landing.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 120.

    It's never been about interference, but the attention of the passengers in case something goes wrong. A passenger who isn't staring at a tablet, game or phone screen is more likely to exit safely in the event of an incident (and will also be less of a hindrance) than one who's absorbed and effectively in another world. I worked in the industry, on-board, and we used gizmos all the time.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 119.

    @shovehalfpenny (114): It's NOT a flight safety issue: that's precisely why the ban has been lifted. And you might have heard of things called e-readers, which let you carry around thousands of books without carrying hundreds of kilos of paper.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 118.

    Hope flying does not become like some train journeys, completely spoiled by having eejits who make numerous calls to tell all and sundry where they are, usually in an a loud voice which distracts ad infinitum.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 117.

    Use all the devices you want as long as they continue to ban mobile phones whilst in flight. Not because of the potential to influence the plane electronics ... just because mobile phone use is so irritating to other people within earshot.
    Why do people always shout on their mobiles.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 116.

    I really hope they don't start allowing people to use their mobile phones during flights. Just how annoying will that be, especially with that damned annoying "whistle" (Samsung) SMS alert tone you hear everywhere now. It's enough to make you want to JUUUMMMPPpppp!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 115.

    At last I will be able to read during take-off and landing. I use a Kindle and it is just as safe to read as an old-fashioned paper book, and doesn't annoy the other passengers as I don't need to turn on the overhead light to read it. Relaxing the ban is long overdue.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 114.

    Anyone who can't go ten minutes without using a mobile phone or a tablet PC has a big problem. Perhaps they could try talking to people face to face instead? We used to do this once. To learn things, we read books. They didn't tend to interfere with airplane safety either. It's not a difficult issue to resolve.

 

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