PED Stories November 14, 2013

Europeans get to use in-flight gadgets too, as EASA mirrors FAA ruling (Update: 3G & 4G too)

Following the FAA ruling, permitting the use of portable electronic devices during all phases of flight, the European Aviation Safety Authority has announced that it too will be issuing the same guidance by the end of the month.

This will allow passengers on European airlines to use tablets, smartphones and ebook readers from gate to gate, provided that they are placed in Airplane mode at the gate.

American airlines wasted no time in implementing the FAA guidance, so here’s hoping for similar speed for those of us on the other side of the pond.

Update: The EC has now also approved both 3G and 4G network use on board aircraft. This would allow airlines to install mini base stations in their aircraft, with signals relayed via their own on-board radio equipment. I’m desperately hoping airlines won’t allow voice calls …

Via The Verge

PED Stories November 7, 2013

Airlines implement gate-to-gate handheld device rules faster than expected

United and American have joined Delta and Jet Blue in permitting gate-to-gate use of portable electronic devices, following the FAA ruling making it legal to do so.

The FAA had said at the time that airlines would need to perform individual tests to demonstrate that the use of electronic devices during all phases of flight would be safe, and had suggested that this might take some time. With the announcement expected as long ago as March, however, it appears that several airlines undertook this testing in advance of the formal ruling.

There has still been no clarification on what constitutes a ‘handheld’ device, but airlines so far appear to be saying yes to tablets and ebook readers and no to laptops. With many tablet and Bluetooth keyboard combos being visually indistinguishable from ultrabooks to non-technical cabin crews, we shall watch with interest to see how the rules are enforced.

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