Restrictions on use of electronics on flights eased

People who can’t live without being constantly in touch can rejoice as the Japan Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism will ease restrictions on the use of electronic devices including smartphones on aircraft next month.

Starting Sep. 1, passengers will be allowed to use smartphones and personal computers at all times during flights, provided that they turn off the communications functions of their devices except data transmission using Wi-Fi wireless connection in the aircraft.

Currently, the use of such devices is banned during takeoff and landing.

The ministry officials also said passengers will be allowed to make calls with their mobile phones sooner than now after landing, although domestic carriers plan to ask passengers to refrain from making on-board phone calls out of consideration for other passengers, according to people in the industry.

In Europe and the United States aviation authorities have relaxed rules on the use of electronic devices since last year as the technologies controlling the aircraft has developed and become more reliable and less sensitive to outside interference, and the Japanese ministry has decided to follow suit.