“Ladies and gentlemen, the Captain has turned on the Fasten Seat Belt sign. If you haven’t already done so, please stow your carry-on luggage underneath the seat in front of you or in an overhead bin. Please take your seat and fasten your seat belt. And also make sure your seat back and folding trays are in their full upright position and that any electronic devices you may have are powered down for take off.”
If pressed, many of us could be roused from a deep slumber, immediately thrown into a cold shower and still have no trouble repeating this monologue verbatim. But it will soon be changing forever.
Transport Canada today announced that it will allow passengers to use their personal electronic devices during all portions of flight. The change, which was made possible through an exemption to the Canadian Aviation Regulations, is being applauded by the industry.
“We welcome this decision and applaud Transport Canada for recognizing the prevalence of these devices and the desire of our guests to use them,” said WestJet spokeman Bob Cummings. “The use of portable electronic devices is a key part of our in-flight experience going forward, and this decision clears the way for the use of portable electronic devices while in non-transmitting or flight mode on a gate-to-gate basis while ensuring the safety of our guests.”
The industry has been pushing for eased restrictions. Earlier this year, Air Canada announced that wireless internet would be available on 130 of its planes by the end of 2015.
Last autumn, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration decided to loosen restrictions on electronic devices used on airplanes, allowing passengers to use them during all phases of travel. The requirement had banned any use under 10,000 feet. The devices, however, must be in airplane mode because any cellular service is still banned.