Qantas And Virgin Australia Ready For Gadgets At Takeoff

Following last year’s moves by the FAA in the US, Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has updated its guidance on the use of personal electronics during takeoff and landing. Qantas was first to apply for approval last month, and on Friday Virgin Australia officially requested customers be allowed “to use personal electronic devices from gate to gate.” But there are some catches…

In Friday’s announcement, Virgin Australia says it will work to immediately implement the use of hand-held personal electronic devices from gate to gate and will have further updates for customers in coming days.

“The electronic device rules have been a key area of customer feedback, with guests unable to watch a full movie between Sydney and Melbourne, and those whose services were delayed in flight due to weather or turbulence required to turn off their devices prematurely.”

Qantas is just as keen, pointing out that its flights to New Zealand have allowed devices in “all phases of flight” since NZ updated its regulations in July.

Both airlines are also expanding their ability to let you access wireless in-flight entertainment through your own smartphone, tablet or laptop. Speaking of which…

The Laptop Limit

Says CASA: “Experience in Australia and other countries has identified that PEDs [Personal Electronic Devices] can be a significant hazard if not secured in certain phases of flight or in cases of turbulence. Injuries have been reported by passengers being struck by PEDs during turbulence events.”

The key rules, as we understand them so far: your device will need to be in flight mode. OK, that’s to be expected. But what might surprise you is the 1kg gadget weight limit. From a safety perspective, those won’t count as personal devices.
Even the 11-inch Macbook Air is over 1kg, but only just. Better bring your tablet if takeoff and landings bore you. [Virgin Airlines | CASA (PDF) | Australian Business Traveller]

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