British Airways passengers will from tomorrow be able to use personal electronic devices during all phases of their flight.
The airline has been given the goahead by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to allow the use of handheld devices during taxiing, take-off and landing, as long as 'flight mode' is switched on.
BA will now tomorrow become the first airline in Europe to permit the use of electronic devices from boarding to disembarking.
Captain Ian Pringle, BA's flight training manager, said: "The easing of restrictions will provide an average of 30 minutes additional personal screen time.
"With around 300 people on a long-haul flight that will mean a combined total of approximately 150 hours extra viewing, reading or working.
"We are incredibly pleased to be the first airline in Europe to introduce these changes which will be of great benefit to our customers on any British Airways flight anywhere in the world."
New guidance issued by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) earlier this month said devices such as smartphones, tablet computers, ereaders and MP3 music players can be switched on at all times as long as "transmitting capabilities" have been disabled.
EASA's change in policy only applies to smaller devices – "bulky" items such as laptop computers will still need to be stowed during taxiing, take-off and landing.
It is up to each airline as to whether or not to permit the use of electronic devices during all phases of the flight.
Earlier this year, British Airways became the first UK airline to let passengers watch IFE content "from the second they reach their seat to the moment they arrive at their destination" (see news, June 25).