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UK airlines approve passenger mobile phone use

Wednesday, October 29th 2014 by Hannah Langston

Passengers on two of the UK’s biggest airlines will now be able to use their Wi-Fi enabled devices throughout the duration of a flight.

From today, passengers flying with Thomas Cook can use their smartphones and tablets continuously during a flight, including take-off and landing. Last week, Monarch introduced similar regulations.

Monarch’s director of customer experience and marketing, Tim Williamson said: “We appreciate that our customers are increasingly travelling with a number of electronic devices such as eBook readers, tablets and smartphones so this will be very welcome news for them.”

The carriers join airlines Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic in offering on-board Wi-Fi connectivity for personal devices.

A British Airways spokesperson said they “are still looking at the EASA decision and will announce any changes as and when appropriate”.

Today’s news follows last month’s changes to European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) guidelines to permit mobile use through all stages of flight. Previously passengers could only use their device before and after take-off.

Commenting on the changes to Monarch and Thomas Cook Group’s policies, a spokesperson for the Civil Aviation Authority, which is responsible for enforcing EASA regulations, said: "Any UK airline can seek approval from the CAA to allow their passengers to use electronic devices during the entire duration of a flight, and several carriers have now been given such approval following safety testing of their aircraft. This approval allows passengers to use smartphones and tablets in 'flight mode'.

“Under the new EASA rules, however, airlines can also ask for approval for devices to be used in normal transmitting mode, but again the airline has to present a safety case to prove their aircraft will not be affected. Cabin crew will always explain when electronic devices can be used, and in what mode, at the beginning of a flight."

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