European ruling opens up the cabin for in-flight phone calls, Internet access

Through a new decision made by the European Aviation Safety Agency, or EASA, the doors may be opening up to in-flight phone calls, emails, and streaming video on a flight in Europe in the future. Though EASA had allowed the use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) on flights in airplane mode last year, the new ruling on Friday would allow these devices to remain on whether or not they are placed into a transmission-restrictive airplane mode.

EASA announced on its website:

From the 26 September 2014 EASA has made it possible for airlines to allow passengers to use their PEDs throughout the flight, regardless of whether the device is transmitting or not, i.e. in 'aeroplane mode' or not. Of course, it is up to each airline to allow the use of PEDs or not.

Though the ruling opens up the doors to surfing the web, streaming videos, and potentially even making phone calls in the cabin, the decision to ultimately open this up still rests upon individual airplanes for safety reasons.

This not only opens up devices to the use of WiFi on-board, which is present on a number of flights in the U.S., but also communications over 3G or 4G networks. According to Reuters:

The European Commission has now authorised the use of mobile spectrum for 3G and 4G communications, which allows users to surf the web and send email, when aircraft are flying above 3,000 metres.

In a statement to the Associated Press, this is how the new rules could impact the use of your technology:

We're basically opening the door where, in theory, you'll be able to continue making your phone call through the gate throughout the flight ... like you would on a train.

Source: EASA

Chuong Nguyen

Chuong's passion for gadgets began with the humble PDA. Since then, he has covered a range of consumer and enterprise devices, raning from smartphones to tablets, laptops to desktops and everything in between for publications like Pocketnow, Digital Trends, Wareable, Paste Magazine, and TechRadar in the past before joining the awesome team at Windows Central. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, when not working, he likes exploring the diverse and eclectic food scene, taking short jaunts to wine country, soaking in the sun along California's coast, consuming news, and finding new hiking trails. 

  • This wreaks of bad idea, IMO.
  • Sorry, no way! Not paying $399 for flapping gums in my right OR left ear.
  • Not good... :/
  • Sounds cool but in reality.....i think we need to do some testing
  • Don't bring this crap to the USA.  I already have a problem with people around here yapping on their phones in the store aisles.
  • It's already here. Guess what though? Cell service doesn't work in the air after so many feet.
  • True.  I work in downtown Chicago on the 40th floor and my phone service sucks!
  • Just give it some time. I'm sure the airlines would install something to bring cell service along as a marketing tool. Not to mention, by the end of 2015, wifi calling will be a thing on a lot of carriers, so who needs cell service?
  • I'm sure evil carriers will figure out a way.
  • I can see internet access but not calls. And things like Skype video should be blocked as well. Of course this is my opinion but I don't fly really so....
  • As if crying babies isn't enough....
  • Precisely
  • +10000000000
  • Yea so if you could ban babies on airplanes that would be great
  • It will only take one incident and it would be a disaster. It does some people good to get away from their phones and gadgets for a while. Read a bloody book!
  • Modern aircraft are shielded. This won't be an issue. The issue is that chatting on the phone is anoying to other passengers.
  • Exactly.
  • Next thing you know, there gonna charge premiums for flights that are not allowed to have people talk on phones. Airfare is ridiculously expensive because of alliances already, don't make it any costlier. This is so stupid.
  • Seems like a fine idea! I always dislike the airplane movie. Now I can watch Netflix on my 1520 when I'm flying through Germany :P
  • why would you want to watch a movie on a 6" screen? YUCK! I could probably tolerate it on my 13" Yoga 2 Pro, but it better not be a good movie. For good movies either theater or my 65" TV.
  • I used to watch movies on my Lumia 800 and it's 4" display, and completely loved it.
  • You've clearly not used a phablet much. Media consumption is a dream on those
  • They wouldn't be making this decision without rigorous testing and removing all doubt that it's safe. And if airlines want to regulate phone use in order to keep people from talking a bunch on their phones they can. But that has nothing to do with safety regulations. I would love to be able to keep contact with people while flying, just through SMS, and I honestly doubt there will be an overwhelming amount of talking on phones.
  • I hope we don't do that in the US. Voice calls of ANY kind should be banned. Texting should be fine though.
  • Lol. Wlan is like everywhere in planes already xD fuck mobile internet
  • It isn't a good idea for passengers to be on their phone that's why they need to place the phone on airplane mode. Using 3g or whatever isn't good to use on a airplane.
  • Why?
  • Streaming videos is fine but calls, hello no. The flights should then have a separate room/cabin for phone talking just like smoking rooms in airports. Imagine people talking loudly (in foreign languages) and you have no place to escape.
  • "Hello no"?
  • So it's not the loud conversation but the fact that you can't eavesdrop?
  • Foreign languages sound like a lot of annoying noise if you don't understand them. Like having someone chew in your ear.
  • Out of topic, I'm on DP 8.1.1. Does any one know if doing the cyan update would take me back to 8.1? Or will it just slap on the firmware alone and still leave me on my current version?
  • Off topic indeed..
  • Just slaps the Firmware on top of P4D. Although the Forums are really a better place for this sort of discussion.
  • Nooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!! Well fuck....
  • Wow a bunch of retarded luddite comments in here. Great to see technology progressing, shame there are so few who appreciate this.
  • Europe is the most safety cautious people ever and they wouldn't allow this if they thought it was dangerous... Like they tried to ban bananas for healthy and safety