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European Commission Gives Its OK For In-Plane 3G, 4G Services For Data Use; Airlines Have The Final Say, Though


In-flight wireless data services are taking off in Europe. The European Commission has now approved two key pieces of legislation that could finally see passengers be able to use their phones and tablets — and laptops with cellular connectivity — while flying. The first allows devices to be operated beyond “flight mode” (except during take-off and landing); and the second allows people to use 3G (UMTS) and 4G (LTE) services at altitudes of above 3,000 meters. But the Commission still notes that final permission to use devices rests with airlines, before consumers take the leap to check Facebook while mid-flight.

“A customer will not have the right to demand to use their mobile,” a spokesperson for the Commission cautions (emphasis theirs). “This EU decision gives airlines to opportunity to allow their customers to use their smartphones and tablets in-flight. We’re saying there is no reason why passengers should be prevented from…

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