It'll be 'months' before gadgets cleared for take-off in UK

It'll be months before we can use our gadgets during take-off and landing on European airlines, according to the UK industry body.

US airlines Delta and JetBlue have just become the first to let passengers use gadgets during every stage of the flight, including take-off and landing. This is after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) changed the regulations this week, though you still can't call or text from your mobile if you're on the plane. But if you're hoping that US law will trickle down to European and British airlines, you might be in for a bit of a wait.

It'll be "months rather than weeks" before the same law applies to airlines this side of the pond, a spokesperson for the UK Civil Aviation Authority told us exclusively. That's because the governing body -- the European Aviation Safety Agency -- wants to make sure all European airlines follow the same regulations, so it's not confusing for us passengers.

The CAA spokesperson also said in a statement: "Portable electronic devices (PEDs) are now a major part of many people's lives and naturally passengers want to use them when they fly. As such, we welcome the FAA's review on the use of these devices by airline passengers.

"We will be studying the review's recommendations closely and discussing their implications directly with the FAA and also the European Aviation Safety Agency, which will be responsible for deciding a European-wide response and next steps."

After the FAA's ruling, it was up to each US airline to say how they would manage passengers using their gadgets during the whole flight, including take-off and landing. This includes how they would retrain their flight attendants. It's thought European airlines will have to go through a similar procedure. Though when we contacted a couple, it didn't sound like the wheels had yet started turning.

A spokesperson from Virgin Atlantic told us: "Virgin Atlantic welcomes this FAA guidance which we think will give our customers an even more enjoyable experience onboard. The safety of our customers and crew is our number one priority and we will be carefully assessing the guidance before adapting any safety procedures."

British Airways was just as non-committal, though it did point out it was the first UK airline to let passengers use their mobiles  as soon as the aircraft has left the runway after landing.

Do you look forward to using your gadgets during take-off and landing? Or will it be annoying, listening to Little Johnny in the seat next to you play Angry Birds for nine hours solid? Let me know in the comments, or stow your thoughts safely in our overhead compartment Facebook page.

Image credit: JetBlue 

About the author

    Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.

     

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