QANTAS and Virgin Australia get OK for PED use

Passengers on Qantas and Virgin Australia can use their personal electronic devices in flight mode as soon as they board and for the duration of the flight.

Both airlines said they had done rigorous safety testing to assess the impacts of electronic devices on the safe operation of aircraft.

Passengers must hold their devices for taxiing, take-off and landing or put them in a seat pocket.

However larger items such as laptops will still need to be stowed until cabin crew advise they can be used.

Before the changes, devices could be powered on for as little as 15 minutes of the flight on short sectors like Sydney to Canberra due to the duration taken up by take-off and landing.

The move will allow Virgin Australia customers using the airline’s in flight entertainment system, which streams via Wi-Fi, to watch a film or television show during the flight.

Qantas Domestic Chief Executive Officer Lyell Strambi:

“We’re delighted to give Qantas customers the freedom and flexibility to use their personal electronic devices from the moment they board the plane until they disembark,” said Mr Strambi.

“Whether customers choose to listen to music, read their e-books or review work documents the introduction of gate-to-gate electronic access on Qantas flights is an exciting development to an already exceptional inflight entertainment service.

“Qantas was the first Australian airline to introduce Inflight Entertainment and provide wireless devices on board so it’s great to be able to capitalise on these features for our customers.

“Qantas has conducted rigorous testing to assess the impacts of electronic devices on the safe operation of aircraft. We are confident that these devices are safe to be turned on, but in flight mode, for the duration of each flight.”

Passengers are still required to listen to all in-flight safety briefings and comply with cabin crew instructions.

Cabin crew will ask passengers to pause their devices to listen to the safety demonstration.

The lifting of the ban applies to Qantas Group and Virgin Australia but not yet to QantasLink, Jetstar or Virgin Regional.

Those three airlines are preparing submissions to CASA.

N.B. Image credit: Qantas

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