EU follows FAA’s lead on PEDs
The European Union’s Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has followed the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) lead by updating its guidance regarding the use of portable electronic devices (PEDs), including smartphones, tablets and e-readers, by passengers during the course of a flight.
In November, the PED Aviation Rulemaking Committee in the USA set a precedent for commercial flights by declaring that most commercial aeroplanes can tolerate radio signal interference from PEDs. This lead the FAA to relax the rules on the use of PEDs in flight and it is now advising the airlines.
Now the EASA has too decided that PEDs can be used throughout the journey (including taxiing, take-off and landing), as long as they remain in ‘flight mode’, without posing a risk to safety.
However, EASA does not want to stop there and has said it is already exploring the possibility of relaxing the rules even further.
“Today we are taking a first step to safely expand the use of in-flight electronics during taxiing, take-off and landing,” commented EU transport commissioner, vice-president Siim Kallas.
“Next we want to look at how to connect to the network while on board. We expect to issue new EU guidance on the use of transmitting devices on board EU carriers within the next year.”
Currently, only a few aircraft are equipped with technology to enable passengers to connect using their PEDs in the cruising phase of flights, but this situation is expected to change in the coming years.
Despite the rulings of both the FAA and EASA, passengers must continue to heed the instructions of the airline they are flying with, as it is up to individual carriers whether or not to implement the latest guidance.
If you’re planning to pack your expensive smartphones and tablets with you on your next holiday in order to take advantage of the new rulings, do make sure they are covered by a travel insurance plan.