Electronic Devices On Planes: What’s Happening In Australia

Electronic Devices On Planes: What’s Happening In Australia
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So after months of rumours, it’s official: the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will allow airlines to apply for approval for passengers to use electronic devices in flight mode throughout a flight, including take-off and landing. Here’s how that will work, and how long we’ll have to wait in Australia.

Plane picture from Shutterstock

The approval doesn’t instantly mean that every passenger within the US can now use their gadgets to their heart’s content. Individual airlines have to seek approval, update their in-flight announcements and ensure staff know the new rules. While some airlines have hinted they will begin offering the option immediately, it will take a while before the policy is universal.

There are also still restrictions. You can’t place phone calls or make use of the mobile network (though you can use in-flight Wi-Fi if your carrier offers it). You’re still supposed to pay attention to the safety briefing (leaving headphones in your ears will be a giveaway there). On flights landing with low visibility (around 1 per cent of the total), devices may be required to be switched off anyway. Especially bulky laptops might also be frowned upon during take-off and landing, and if you are using a laptop, you’ll have to hold it on your lap, not use the tray table.

In Australia, any change will have to be approved by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). While the FAA change is likely to be endorsed, that could take a while, and individual airlines will still need to apply for approval. A change at some point in 2014 seems likely, but don’t hold your breath right now.


  • So what happens with an airline that’s been approved by the FAA to allow devices in-flight is landing in a country that has not approved the use of devices in-flight?

    • As soon as you step onto a plane, you are subject to the rules of the carrier: Carrier allows it – go for it.

  • this is great but my major concern is that we will start moving towards a time when people will be allowed to start placing calls/texts mid flight. Given I fly a lot, I’d be concerned that I’d lose my one last bit of peace (as would many others)

  • Kowtowing to the FAA is yet another example of countries being intimated by their US masters. When will people realise that the USA isn’t the world ruler?

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