No need to switch off your mobile and personal electronic devices in flight anymore as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has amended the rule pertaining to the use of mobile phones in flight. Earlier there was a complete ban on the use of mobile phones on aircrafts, but with the recent amendments passenger can use the mobile phones and other such portable electronic devices (PEDs) in the flight in flight mode or non-transmitting mode. Operators have been directed to report the DGCA regarding the alleged or confirmed PED hindrance. They must also report the fire or smoke incidence caused by PEDs.
Before we sit back and analyse what these changes mean, let us know what exactly the flight mode is.
What is a flight mode in mobiles?
Flight Mode is a setting that is available on the mobile phones, smartphones, tablets and other such devices, when on then it turns off the WiFi connections, mobile network, Bluetooth connections and FM radio. In flight mode you can use the features which do not require mobile connection. You can watch movie or play games and use built-in-camera. Other names of flight mode are standalone mode, offline mode or airplane mode.
What do these changes mean?
These changes in the civil aviation requirements or CAR will bring it at par with the regulations of the US’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and European Union Aviation Safety Agency. FAA issued a related order in October 2013 whereas British Airways did it in December last year. Emirates Airlines on 20 March 2008, allowed the full use of cell phones by installing network providing equipment in the flight. It is the first airline to allow the use of cell phones. After Emirates, European Ryanair followed the same steps.
In India, SpiceJet is the first airline to allow the use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) in flight mode in flight. This budget passenger carrier has allowed the use of PEDs in non transmitting mode above 10,000 feet just like on international flights in US and Europe.
Reason for not allowing the use of electronic devices in the flight was to avoid any kind of disturbance to cellular towers on the ground. Argument in the favor of ban is the electromagnetic interference caused by mobile phones or other such electronic device to aircraft system.
There are certain other issues that favor the ban and one of these is the social. A person talking over the phone may disturb another person in flight.
On the other hand airlines have been making this demand to lift the ban for a long time. As per aviation experts this move is beneficial for passengers as they are now free to choose their choice of entertainment. They can work, write an email or message to send it later on. Use of PEDs is a good move especially in the flights which do not have an access to any kind of in-flight entertainment.