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Using Phones while Flying: The Era of Internet 39,000 Feet in the Air

2018-01-28 / Number of views:1495

Anyone who has ever flown on a commercial airline will know that prior to takeoff, flight attendants require passengers to turn off all electronic devices such as cell phones, laptops and video game consoles. On Chinese flights, however, passengers are not allowed to use their phones at any point during the flight, even on airplane mode. This strict rule has been imposed for decades, but is just now being lifted. Recently, the Civil #Aviation Administration of China (#CAAC) released its Guidelines for the Evaluation of the Use of Portable Electronic Device PEDs in Aircraft, providing specific requirements and guidance for airlines in validating and assessing the use of on-board portable electronic devices.

Whether or not the electromagnetic signals of electronic equipment actually affect flights has been heavily debated across the world. After further researching the issue, the United States, Singapore, Australia and several other countries lifted cell phone bans and chose to let airlines independently decide on the usage of electronic devices during flights.

Since 2013, several civil aviation airlines in China have launched Wi-Fi service. However, the experience of using Internet while in the air has largely been unsatisfactory due to limited access and slow connection speeds. The CAAC’s lift of the ban will allow for improvements to be made on this front and is expected to transform passengers’ flight experiences. In recent years, particularly with the rapid development of China‘s high-speed railways, many customers have taken advantage of alternative transportation methods and relied less solely on flying. Improvements to the civil aviation transport industry will undoubtedly establish new and differentiated competitive advantages.

Last year, Chinese airlines exceeded 488 million passengers, and the average route time was about 2.5 hours. Enriching the quality of internet service while flying will be the next major challenge. By seizing this 1-billion-yuan consumer market and giving passengers more entertainment and leisure options during flights, the Chinese civil aviation industry will usher in another golden period of development.

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