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Passengers with British Airways will soon be permitted to use their mobile phones and gadgets moments after the plane has landed.
Fliers are usually told that they must not switch on any electronic devices until the aircraft doors have opened, although many do not observe this rule. But British Airways said passengers will, from July 1, be allowed to check emails, make phone calls and texts, or switch on other gadgets, immediately after the aircraft has left the runway.
Once the aircraft has landed, cabin crew will make an announcement to customers to let them know they can use their handheld mobile devices, it said. On departing flights, customers will still be required to turn off devices when the aircraft leaves the gate.
The move comes after the airline demonstrated to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that customers can safely use such devices once their aircraft has left the runway.
Ian Pringle, British Airways’ flight training manager, said its approach the CAA in response to feedback from passengers, adding that it would be the first European airline to adopt such a policy.
“Customers will no longer have the frustration of having to wait until their plane has arrived at the terminal building before being able to use their mobile phones and other handheld electronic devices,” he said. “Now they’ll have that extra time to phone ahead for that important business meeting, check their emails, or make sure someone is there to meet them at the airport.”
The move also follows a draft report by U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which recommended the easing of restrictions on the use of electronic gadgets on flights.
The report made no mention of mobile phone rules but does suggest the widespread ban on other devices should be relaxed as the current system “has become untenable”. Changes would allow use of certain products, such as e-readers, during take off and landing, in addition to during the flight.