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Canadians will soon have gate-to-gate smartphone and tablet access on flights

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In a press release today, Canada’s Transport Minister, Lisa Raitt, said that “gate-to-gate” electronics use, including smartphones, tablets and e-readers, will soon be possible on flights operated by Canadian airlines.

After US and European regulators eased the ban on device use last year during taxi, takeoff and landing periods, Canadians were left wondering when Ottawa would follow suit.

Smartphone and tablet users will only have full transmitting allowance during taxi, and will need to be switched to Airplane Mode for takeoff and landing. Other devices, like cameras, portable gaming systems, and laptops, can be used during any phase of the flight as long as they are not transmitting, and “that their airline has met certain safety conditions outlined by Transport Canada.”

“This is great news for air passengers, and an exciting day for the Canadian aviation industry,” said the Transport Minister in a statement. “By collaborating with our aviation partners, we are able to offer airlines the tools they need to safely enable passengers to use portable electronic devices on airplanes, while still maintaining the highest standards of aviation safety.” Canada’s rules appear to be slightly more restrictive than that of their US counterpart, as the transport body is still concerned “[devices] have the potential to interfere with aircraft’s navigation and communication systems.”

This change will go into effect shortly, though some operators will flip the proverbial switch sooner than others.

  • FlamesFan89

    Wow, it’s like someone FINALLY realized that there is absolutely no basis for the ban on electronic devices during taxi and take off in the first place.

    Careful politicians, you might not want to set a precedent of using logic and reason in your decision making processes, people might come to expect it.

    • MarkLastiwka

      Don’t worry. This is all about Harper Government following on the coat tails of Big Brother US.

    • MikeOxlong

      ^^this

    • Nachotech

      It was always my understanding that the reason for the ban wasn’t that it would interfere with the planes electronics in any way, it’s that the takeoff/landing phase is the most dangerous part of any plane trip, and they want people alert and paying attention should an emergency happen, not plugged into their electronic devices oblivious to what’s happening around them (and potentially not hearing emergency announcements).
      They also don’t want people buried in their e-readers or tablets when the instructions about what to do in case of emergency are given out at the start of the flight.

    • FlamesFan89

      Yeah, I’ve heard that tale too, but it doesn’t hold water considering they have never asked a person to put away a book during instructions, taxiing, or takeoff.

      I really do understand this line of reasoning, but it just doesn’t align with actual protocol that has been followed.

    • Salinger

      If that was the case, why would the safety announcements state that “transmitting and receiving functions must remain off at all times during flight”?

    • 5Gs

      Once i saw air hostess scolding a person to turn her phone off. So i believe its not that they wanted you to be alert. They just didn’t want you to be on any electronics not to mention even cameras.

    • ando bobando

      Then they should wake up the people napping and tell others to stow their books. But they don’t.

  • Chris Stoochnoff

    If you would like to use wifi though, you can do that for almost entire flight. They will only charge you twice your monthly Internet plan for 2 hours use too, since they’re so kind!

    • 5Gs

      Exactly! makes me wonder if they are putting safety behind when it comes to making money. Should i be even wondering.

  • Kenny S. Zhang

    The picture is kind of misleading. It looks like the guy is having a phone conversation mid flight.

    • Gregg Wilson

      The guy in the picture is a knob, screaming into his cell phone on an empty plane. Everyone else got off the flight and he decided to stay in his seat and fight with someone on the other end… LOL!

    • 5Gs

      lolll

    • hyperhyper

      He’s using skype to talk to wife who jumped in the sack with his brother as soon as he walked out to the door to catch his plane.

    • 5Gs

      Not to mentiong he is the only one in the plane lol

  • gommer strike

    That’s such a short time period anyways, but I guess we’ll take what we can get. But for them to trumpet it, like it’s the next saviour of mankind is a bit hilarious.

    • ScooterinAB

      Yeah. It’s such a minor change that I fail to see what the big deal is. You still cannot transmit, which is what people are asking for. Being able to use your phone or tablet for the 2 or 3 minutes of take-off and landing is really not a big deal, because there are often flight instructions and things you should be listening for anyways.

  • Danno Blammo

    I wonder how many people will actually switch to Airplane Mode when the plane is taking off.

    • ToniCipriani

      The Big 3 would love that you didn’t. If for any strange reason you get reception at 30000 feet, they can rip you apart with roaming fees.

    • Danno Blammo

      Very true, I bet the fees will be astronomical for such a convenience.

      I meant rather, “How many people will bother shutting off their phone when taking off?”

  • JVan

    I have never actually switched my phone or any other electronics off. I think they make you shut them off to try and force you to pay attention to the “in case of emergency” instructions for the millionth time.

  • UNKNOWN

    How is this any different than currently? They make you turn off your device during takeoff and landing now, and you’ll still not be able to make a call or connect to the internet or probably use head/earphones during those times.

    Or is it merely the exception for handheld gaming and laptops?

    As if they could tell whether a device was transmitting or not. Totally unenforceable. Gate to gate use my a*s.

  • 5Gs

    LMAO It cleary say they were waiting for ottawa to follow suit. Pathetice. If Big B says its okay. We agree its okay. No need to use our brain.

    I knew this for long time. I seen so many people on phone while taking off and nothing ever happens. I knew it was just crap no wonder a lot of people still used it.

    Technology signals are not that strong as they used to be. I remember i could easily turn on/off my stereo system with my old nokia stone phone by just bring it near to the system. I believe now they try to use the energy effieciently.

  • ando bobando

    I’m pretty happy about this change, mainly because takeoff is often not 2-3 minutes. If you have to de-ice and wait in line on the tarmac, then you’re re-reading the in flight magazine for the 40th time. I would much prefer to continue reading my ebook or playing a game. Especially when there is no valid reason for the ban in the first place!

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