Flying domestically in Australia has reached new heights today, with the latest announcement from CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) authorising the use of personal electronic devices from the time of boarding to the time of disembarkation. Simply put, you can now use your phones, tablets and music players gate-to-gate.
This is great news for travellers on both Virgin Australia and Qantas who will be able to use their devices from today onwards, provided the devices are switched into ‘flight mode’ when required. If you are boarding via the tarmac, however, you will still be required to switch off your devices for safety reasons. Laptop computers are also still required to be powered down for take off and landing.
Virgin Australia has announced the new gate-to-gate rules effective immediately for all domestic flights flown on their Boeing 737s, Embraer 190s and Airbus A330 aircraft, provided the devices weigh less than one kilogram and are stored for take-off and landing.
Qantas, meanwhile, has announced the new rules will take effect as of 3pm today (August 26, 2014) . Qantas domestic CEO Lyell Strambi says, "These changes are an exciting development in the customer experience for the airline."
Both QantasLink and Jetstar are in the final stages of preparation for their submissions to CASA and are expected to make an announcement shortly regarding their electronic devices policy.
Qantas has advised they are "working towards" a new Q Streaming App, allowing passengers to download and watch approximately 350 hours worth of entertainment on selected aircraft.
Passengers can already access Virgin Australia’s Wi-Fi entertainment system onboard selected flights, which features more than 300 hours of movies, television shows and music videos. The Wi-Fi system is available from the moment passengers take their seats to the time they reach the gate at their destination.
Virgin Australia flights to New Zealand, Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Fiji are currently excluded, as these Wi-Fi entertainment systems require approval from the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority. Read more about the Virgin Australia in-flight entertainment app.