Airplane mode will no longer be required on flights in the European Union, thanks to the new legislation adopted by the European Commission. 5G technology will also be allowed to be installed on aircraft in order for passengers to enjoy being connected at all times while flying.

Man on phone while flying on a plane

5G Technology will be available on planes and phones can be used freely. © Shutterstock

The European Commission’s Newest Legislation

Last week, the European Commission announced that there would no longer be requirements on aircraft when it comes to phone connectivity. Passengers will be allowed to use their phones, laptops or other devices freely, without being restricted to using them on airplane mode. Airlines will now have the opportunity to provide 5G services for customers.

Thierry Breton, the Commissioner for the Internal Market, claimed: “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.” Wi-fi on airplanes has been allowed to be used since 2008, however, its usage was limited to certain long-haul flights and usually involved a price to be paid. With this change, however, wireless technology will become easier to implement.

These services will be able to exist thanks to the state-of-the-art technology called “pico-cell”. This kind of equipment that will be installed on aircraft will allow passengers to connect to the 5G broadband via a satellite network. Therefore, travelers can route calls, texts and data from the network to their devices.

This decision comes alongside the choice to implement 5GHz frequency lines not only in the air, but also on the roads. While the European Commission has not decided on a deadline for the introduction of the network on planes, it has established that the Member States should make the network available on the roads by 30th June 2023.

Man using Inflight Entertainment System

The inflight entertainment system will now be rivalled by our smartphones © Jetstar Airways

Why Was Airplane Mode Necessary Anyways?

As any person that has ever flown on an aircraft before, we all know the routine when boarding the plane: we have to set our devices to airplane mode. But why did we have to do that? Did the phones and other devices interfere with the signals from planes? Or was it just a safety precaution?

It turns out it is just a measure to be safe. There is no real necessity for airplane mode to be turned on during flights. Currently, this function of devices is asked to be switched on by the flight attendants in order to avoid any chance that the cellular signals will interfere with the ones emitted by the navigation systems of the aircraft. However, there have been no plane accidents linked to phone usage so far.

Ever since airlines have been allowed to offer Wi-fi connectivity on planes, this whole subject became less taboo, and now it is going to become something quite common on flights in the European Union. The plan to keep device usage safe is to put the phone networks at 5GHz and over, while the signals emitted by the cockpit and the aircraft’s equipment will stand somewhere around 4.2-4.4GHz.

What do you think of this law? Have you ever encountered any problems regarding airplane mode while flying? Let us know in the comments down below!

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