British Airways will allow passengers to use personal electronic devices during all phases of their flight from today (December 19).
The airline has been given approval by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to allow the use of handheld devices during taxiing, take-off and landing, as long as their flight-mode is switched on.
BA will become the first airline in Europe to permit the use of electronic devices from boarding to disembarkation.
Captain Ian Pringle, BA’s flight training manager, said: “We are incredibly pleased to be the first airline in Europe to introduce these changes which will be of great benefit to our customers on any British Airways flight anywhere in the world.”
“The easing of restrictions will provide an average of 30 minutes additional personal screen time.
“With around 300 people on a long-haul flight that will mean a combined total of approximately 150 hours extra viewing, reading or working.”
New guidance issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) earlier this month said devices such as smartphones, tablets, e-readers and MP3 music players can be switched on at all times as long as “transmitting capabilities” have been disabled.
EASA’s change in policy only applies to smaller devices – “bulky” items such as laptop computers will still need to be stowed during taxiing, take-off and landing.
Individual airlines have to decide whether or not to permit the use of electronic devices during all phases of the flight.
Earlier this year, British Airways became the first airline to let passengers watch IFE content “from the second they reach their seat to the moment they arrive at their destination”.