'Please put your mobile phones on the flight mode'. Now on, you may hear an airhostess announcing this before your flight takes off instead of asking you to switch it off.
This has now become possible with the DGCA on Wednesday amending the rule which bans use of portable electronic devices (PEDs) and allowing their usage in all phases of flight but on a non-transmitting or flight mode, official sources said.
With the implementation of the new rule or Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR), flyers can now turn on their cellphones, tablets or laptops on 'flight mode' to work, play video games, listen to music, watch pre-loaded movies or type their emails. The mails would, however, be sent only after the plane lands at an airport.
DGCA Maintaining that this has been a long-pending demand of the airlines, aviation experts say it would give passengers more time to work or catch up on their chosen form of entertainment. In particular, it would benefit those flying on no-frill carriers which provide no access to any in-flight entertainment. The aviation regulator has also laid down training guidelines for the flight crew to handle the new facility being given to the air travellers.
The new rule also directs all airlines to report to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) any suspected or confirmed PED interference or smoke or fire caused by them, the sources said. They said the a section of the CAR relating to air safety has been amended to allow the use of PEDs in "non-transmitting mode, commonly called as Flight/Airplane Mode."
The decision was taken after a meeting on the issue last week when scheduled Airlines had raised the demand to allow the use of PEDs during all phases of flight. The DGCA examined their demand in view of the new and regulations of the US regulator, Federal Aviation Administration and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency, which allow the use of PEDs on flight mode in all phases of a flight.
The latest DGCA move would put India on par with a handful of other countries which allow the use of mobiles while on board. In December 2013, British Airways allowed the use of cellphones on flight mode. Some other European and American carriers have also brought in similar changes.