Electronic devices to stay on, in flight mode, on Qantas
FROM this afternoon Qantas customers will be able to use their personal electronic devices such as smart phones, tablets and music players in flight mode, for the duration of each flight, providing uninterrupted access to work and entertainment.
Qantas was approved to revise its personal electronic device policy by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority today following new guidance on the safe use of personal electronic devices inflight.
Qantas Domestic Chief Executive Officer Lyell Strambi said the new changes were an exciting development in customer experience for the airline.
"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."
Advice for customers:
- Devices can be used whether passengers are boarding via aerobridge or transiting across tarmac.
- Once aircraft doors are closed for departure, devices will need to be in 'flight mode'.
- Customers are required to secure handheld devices by holding them or placing them in a seat pocket during taxi, take-off and landing. Larger items such as laptops will still need to be stowed.
- Customers are still required to listen to all inflight safety briefings and comply with cabin crew instructions.
- Mobile and smart phones will still not be able to be used to make calls or send texts from the air.
- Qantas plans to lift restrictions on electronic devices across the entire Qantas Group for regional, domestic and international flights.
- QantasLink and Jetstar are in the final stages of preparing their submission to CASA for the extended use of personal electronic devices.
The changes to CASA's ruling on personal electronic devices inflight follows an announcement by the United States' Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in October last year that it would allow passengers to leave their electronic devices on through all phases of flight if individual airlines could prove that it did not interfere with the operation of the aircraft.
Experts from airlines, aircraft manufacturers, passenger groups, pilot associations, flight attendants, and mobile services have since been investigating the impact of personal electronic devices inflight.
Until today, devices in Australia were required to remain off until the seatbelt sign turned off, meaning passengers were unable to use them while the aircraft was taxiing to the runway or through much of the climb or descent.
In addition, Qantas is working towards enabling customers to use their own devices to access 350 hours of on-demand entertainment from gate to gate on selected Domestic and International aircraft. Initially this functionality would encompass Apple devices including iPads and iPhones, followed by laptops and Android devices at a later stage.
Customers would only need to download a Q Streaming app to their device, or connect via their browser to the Q Streaming Inflight Entertainment network to access movies, TV shows and music. Qantas will continue to offer complimentary tablets for customers to access Q Streaming on a number of aircraft types.
The new policy will apply to all Qantas Domestic and Qantas International flights from 3pm today.