US in-flight phone and tablet use could have ‘knock on effect’ for UK

The FAA’s decision to allow the use of phones and tablets on planes will have a ‘knock-on effect’ for UK airlines, CAA says.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) decision to allow the use of phones and tablets during take off and landing would have a knock-on-effect' for UK airlines. 

Following the announcement the US-based FAA will allow the use of phones and tablets from gate-to-gate in the US from today (November 1), the CAA thinks UK airlines servicing the US may have to change their policies to fit in with the US legislation according to the BBC.

UK regulators will now investigate into how the FAA's rules will fit into the UK's aviation industry, which currently bans the use of any communication-based technology for the duration of a flight.

Previously, mobile phone and tablet use was restricted while in the air, with many airlines only permitting the use of phones if they have flight-safe mode enabled and they are turned off during take-off and landing.

Although the new rules will prevent passengers using data, making phone calls or sending text messages when the aircraft is below 10,000 feet, they will be able to use non-data apps such as video players, games or e-readers.

"We believe today's decision honors [sic] both our commitment to safety and consumer's increasing desire to use their electronic devices during all phases of their flights," Transportation secretary Anthony Foxx said in an FAA press release.

"These guidelines reflect input from passengers, pilots, manufacturers and flight attendants, and I look forward to seeing airlines implement these much anticipated guidelines in the near future." 

A number of airlines have introduced their own mobile phone networks, allowing passengers to use premium-rate roaming networks while in the air to make phone calls, texts and use data.

The CAA was approached for further comment but had not responded to our request at the time of publication.

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