Portable Electronic Devices (PED) include any kind of electronic device brought on board the aircraft by a passenger such as a tablet, a laptop, a smartphone, an e-reader or a MP3 player.
In the past, there have been restrictions in the use of PEDs on board aircraft. However in 2013, EASA made it possible for airlines to allow the use of PEDs for almost the whole flight duration, as long as the devices were not transmitting, i.e. in ‘aeroplane mode’. EASA has been working towards enabling airlines to allow the use of these devices with freedom comparable to that in other modes of transport, for example in trains. This has been achieved: From the 26 September 2014 EASA has made it possible for airlines to allow passengers to use their PEDs throughout the flight, regardless of whether the device is transmitting or not, i.e. in ‘aeroplane mode’ or not. Of course, it is up to each airline to allow the use of PEDs or not. In order to do this, airlines will have to go through an assessment process, ensuring aircraft are not affected in any way by the transmission of signals from the PEDs.
For safety reasons, EASA describes certain conditions for using such devices on board aircraft operated by European airlines. Based on these conditions, airlines may describe when PEDs can be used. In other words, airlines may be more restrictive than the EASA provisions are. Because it is a decision of each airline, you may experience differences among airlines whether and when PEDs can be used. In addition, you may experience differences within one airline depending on the aircraft type.
- If you are unsure on the use of PEDs, you may check the airline’s website prior to the flight.
- Be reminded that the safety briefing provided by the airline crew is for your benefit. Please pay attention and listen carefully.
- Airline crew may request at any time to switch-off all PEDs and to stow them.
- Passengers have always to follow airline crew instructions as safety is the responsibility of everyone on board the aircraft.
- Safety is everyone’s priority.
As part of its’ effort to inform passengers on the new changes, EASA has published some frequently asked questions in the form of an interview with a PED.