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British Airways relaxes restrictions on electronic devices


Laptops are too large, but tablets and mobile phones are fine, reveals airline.

December 19, 2013 5:40 by

Restrictions on using handheld devices during flights are being relaxed, as British Airways (BA) will soon become Europe’s first airline to allow its customers to use their electronic devices during taxiing, take-off and landing.

Following acceptance by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the move (from December 19) means that customers of the London-based carrier will be able to use their tablet devices, smartphones or eReaders throughout the flight – provided they remain in ‘flight safety’ mode.

According to a statement from the airline, the changes will comply with all existing safety rules and regulations.

Captain Ian Pringle, BA’s flight training manager, says the easing of restrictions will provide an average of 30 minutes additional personal screen time and with approximately 300 people on a long-haul flight, that could mean a combined total of 150 hours extra viewing.

Earlier this year, BA was the first European airline to allow their customers to use mobile phones and other handheld electronic devices to call, text and send emails after the aircraft has landed and taxied off the runway.

Even with the relaxed restrictions, customers will not be allowed to use their mobile phones to make calls during take-off, landing or taxiing, as they might interfere with the aircraft’s electronic systems. All devices must remain in ‘flight mode’ as to not risk causing any interference.

As for using laptops, the airline reveals that they’re too large and could potentially hinder customers leaving an aircraft safely and quickly in an emergency evacuation.

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