BA: Should we have connectivity on planes?

British Airways are to relax their rules on mobile technologies following relaxed European Union laws.

British Airways are to relax their rules on mobile technologies following relaxed European Union laws.

The relaxed rules from British Airways (BA) will mean that European fliers will be one step closer to full data connectivity on flights—something that our transatlantic friends can currently enjoy. In fact we recently saw a series of angry tweets from an American flier go viral after his battle with a fellow passenger over thanks giving – if you’ve not seen it it’s great procrastination!

In November it was announced that the European Commission allowed flights to start letting their passengers access 3G, 4G and in flight calls during their journeys and now British Airways are to become the first major European airline to take the plunge into realms of air-born data connectivity.

Not all the way though. Unlike American Airlines, BA will only be letting their passengers use their phones on flight mode. As well as this the main change is that devices can be used from take-off whereas previous rules said that passengers had to wait until 10,000ft.

So why haven’t we been allowed to use electronic devices before?

We’ve long since realised that switching on our MP3 player whilst in the air won’t suddenly make the plane drop out of the sky but we’re still not entirely sure why the ruling is in place. One reason could be for the pilot’s clarity sake.

Small and possible interferences from messages could block communications although that’s a bit far-fetched considering the scale of devices. Another plausible idea is that the flight crew need your attention and when the seat-belt sign is on you’re still likely to be asked to refrain from using electronic devices.

Even on long haul flights with entertainment we still have to wait until after our seat belt signs have disappeared to be able to watch a film. The most logical reasoning being that we need more attention during take-off and landing which are the more precarious parts of our flight.

Do we really need connectivity?

In the modern society we’re constantly connected and the air space seems to be one of the last remaining places where we’re almost completely defunct of our gadgetry. We’ve slowly been allowed more and more (who didn’t crave their Game Boy as a child?) but for now the plane remains a sanctuary away from phone calls and little bleeps that is second only to the quiet zone of the train.

On longer flights the use of data connectivity is more justifiable but on short haul journeys the added distractions and nuisance could be more of a pain than a blessing. In fact maybe on longer flights as well – we’ve all heard library or train stories with someone having an hour long inappropriate conversation. That would be a nightmare on a plane!

Do you think having connectivity on planes is a good idea? Can you go a flight phoneless? Leave your comments below.

Image: Wo st 01 / Wikimedia Commons