PASSENGERS will soon be able to use their phones as normal on planes when flying in the European Union.
The EU has announced that airlines will soon be able to provide the latest 5G technology on aircraft.
It means that passengers on flights in the EU will be able to use their mobile phones as normal, which could make warnings about “switching to airplane mode” a thing of the past.
The service will be provided within the cabin of equipped aircraft using special network equipment called a pico-cell.
That will connect users to calls, texts, and data via a satellite network, connecting the plane and the ground-based mobile networks.
Passengers will be connected to a specific band of frequency that will facilitate phone use on the aircraft, without interfering with the plane’s communications.
However, in the first rollout it will only work on low altitude flights and in good weather.
Currently, phones have to be turned off, or switched to flight safe mode, in order to prevent interference.
Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal market, said: “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.”
Most read in News Travel
Whether or not the service will be free remains to be seen, with roaming costs a potential issue for passengers, when flying through several countries.
What’s more, there are fears that the investment in the 5G technology could lead to increases in airfares – as airlines pass on the cost to passengers.
Whether more people with their phones out on planes is a good thing remains to be seen.
Ryanair are among a number of airlines that have started warning passengers about problems that could arise from losing phones during flights.
The dangers of the electrical devices overheating while in the air is considered so serious that they are now being included in the safety briefing before take-off.
Passengers are being asked to inform flight attendants if their device overheats, or is lost in the seats.
It is thought that the new message is now a more important part of the pre-flight briefing than the part about life jackets.
Keeping phones charged while using them on a flight could also lead to issues, as airport security can confiscate your phone if the battery is dead and it can’t be turned on.
The UK Government website states: “Make sure your electronic devices are charged before you travel. If your device does not switch on when requested, you will not be allowed to take it onto the aircraft.”
British Airways also states this on their website, saying: “Airport security staff may ask you to turn on electronic or battery-powered devices, such as phones, tablets, e-books and laptops, to demonstrate their function.
“If you’re not able to do this, you will not be able to take your device with you.”
Meanwhile, flight attendants revealed the thing they hate passengers doing with phones on board planes.
And this passenger annoyed a mum by watching graphic content on his phone mid-flight.