In the EU, air travelers will soon be able to use phones not in flight mode

person taking picture of empty seats inside an airplane

Passengers on flights within the European Union (EU) will soon be permitted to use mobile phones while in aeroplane mode.

The European Commission has ruled that airlines, in addition to allowing mobile data, can provide 5G technology onboard.

This should exempt passengers from using flight mode on their phones, though details on how this will work have yet to be released.

Travelers will be able to make phone calls, text, and watch videos as a result of the changes.

Why must passengers enable aeroplane mode during flights?

This is because there has historically been little understanding of how mobile data might affect flight communications, according to Dai Whittingham, chief executive of the UK Flight Safety Committee.

“There was some concern that they might interfere with the automatic flight control systems,” he explained. “Experience has shown that the risk of interference is very low.”

Concerns have been raised in the United States about how 5G frequencies may interfere with flight systems and even cause altitude measurements to change.

person holding smartphone
Photo by Lina Kivaka on

However, Whittingham confirmed that this is not a problem in the UK or the EU.

“There is a lot less chance of interference,” he said. “We have a different set of frequencies for 5G, and there are lower power settings than those allowed in the United States.”

Whittingham added, “The traveling public wants 5G.” “The regulators will open the door to that possibility, but steps will be taken to ensure that whatever they do is safe.”

When will airline passengers in the EU be able to make phone calls?

With the European Commission’s approval, airlines will soon be able to allow passengers to use mobile phone data on board flights.

Member states have until June 30, 2023, to install 5G technology on aircraft.

person taking a picture of the sunset
Photo by Mary on

This means that beginning next year, air passengers will be able to make phone calls, use apps, and stream music and videos.

“5G will enable innovative services for people and growth opportunities for European companies. The sky is no longer a limit when it comes to possibilities offered by super-fast, high-capacity connectivity.”

Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market

With 5G frequencies, airlines will be able to provide high-speed internet, allowing passengers to download a movie in a matter of minutes.

Do passengers want to use their phones on the plane?

Although the plan has been hailed as a significant advancement for air travel, not everyone is pleased.

“Given the way people behave with their phones on all other public transport this is depressing news,” one user wrote on Twitter.
“Yet another reason to hate flying. Imagine being stuck in a seat next to somebody on their phone for hours,” said another.

“There isn’t even a plan for a quiet carriage!“

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