November 1, 2013

Others likely to follow U.S. lead on in-flight phone use

The Associated Press

LONDON — International regulators are likely to follow in the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s footsteps in loosening restrictions on the use of smartphones and other electronics during takeoff and landing.

click image to enlarge

A passenger checks her cell phone before a flight in Boston. The Federal Aviation Administration issued new guidelines Thursday, Oct. 31, under which passengers will be able to use devices to read, work, play games, watch movies and listen to music, from the time they board to the time they leave the plane.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

Several airlines and an academic who has studied the issue say European and Asian regulators will probably relax their own similar rules that bar the use of phones, movie players, and laptops in the first and final stages of a plane’s flight.

Restrictions on calls and the use of data remain in place.

Joseph Lampel, an academic at London’s City University who has studied the issue, says American safety “is regarded as a gold standard” and that other air authorities are likely to follow suit.

Some airlines released statements Friday suggesting they expect American-style changes in their jurisdictions in the future.

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