In Canada: Use of Portable Electronic Devices Aboard Aircraft to Be Expanded to Taxi, Takeoff and Landing

Graphic ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Following the decision which was announced on October 31, 2013 from the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States and a similar decision which was announced two weeks later by the European Aviation Safety Agency, Lisa Raitt — who is the Minister of Transport in the Cabinet of Canada — released an official announcement which will eventually allow the expansion of the usage of certain portable electronic devices to be used throughout all phases of a flight on aircraft operated by airlines based in Canada.

Current rules dictate that portable electronic devices may only be used when the aircraft is flying at an altitude above 10,000 feet during a flight. The revision of the rules will allow passengers to use portable electronic devices during taxi, takeoff and landing — which is currently prohibited in Canada — as long as the portable electronic devices are not in a transmitting mode so as not to potentially interfere with the navigation and communication systems of airplanes.

Although announcements from Air Canada and WestJet earlier this year proclaimed that they would be adding Wi-Fi Internet access for passengers aboard their airplanes, they still have to wait for approval from Transport Canada before the service can be implemented. Airlines must demonstrate to the federal government of Canada that their airplanes will not be affected by the usage of portable electronic devices.

FlyerTalk member Air Canada Altitude — an official company representative of Air Canada on FlyerTalk — announced last month that access to the Internet for passengers via Wi-Fi technology will be expanded on flights within North America; and that expansion is expected to be completed by the end of next year. Installation has already begun this month; and passengers flying on aircraft already equipped with in-flight Wi-Fi technology service will be able to access the Internet free of charge for flights through June 30, 2014.

An announcement from WestJet back in December of 2013 revealed that passengers will be able to enjoy Wi-Fi Internet service beginning in 2014. The implementation of Wi-Fi Internet service is expected to take several years, with the first test aircraft by the end of this year. Additionally, outlets for both 110-volt and USB devices are to be installed at seats aboard the aircraft.

Several FlyerTalk members posted that they thought that the change in policy to allow the use of portable electronic devices during all phases of flight in Canada is “excellent news” and “about time” — but why did it take so long?

“Sounds like Transport Canada did their usual due diligence: Let the US do it, wait to see if it makes planes crash…Nope? OK, we can do it here”, quipped FlyerTalk member tireman77.

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