Mobile phone use may soon be allowed on Chinese flights

By Chris Chamberlin, August 18 2016
Mobile phone use may soon be allowed on Chinese flights

IN BRIEF | Using your mobile phone aboard flights with Chinese airlines is currently banned, but the Chinese government could soon relax those restrictions as inflight Internet grows ever more popular in the region.

Passengers could begin using their phone mid-flight by the end of the year or in early 2017, the Civil Aviation Administration of China told Bloomberg this week, although passengers would still be required to activate flight mode when in the air.

It’s therefore not expected that phone calls or traditional text messages could be made or sent during a flight, as is possible on airlines such as Emirates.

Instead, such a change would enable smartphone users to connect to an airline’s inflight Internet service over WiFi without reverting to a laptop or tablet to browse, as currently occurs.

Chinese airlines have been slow to adopt inflight Internet on their international flights, although China Southern is currently trialling the technology on its journeys from Sydney to Guangzhou and onwards to Beijing.

On those flights, complimentary Internet access is granted to business class and first class travellers, plus the first 10 passengers to register from economy – but that registration needs to be done before you leave home, not in the air.

Qantas doesn't offer inflight Internet on its own Sydney-Shanghai flights, although Qantas passengers aren't banned from using their smartphones for other tasks when in flight mode, including on flights to China.

Read: Get free inflight Internet access on China Southern flights

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Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller, and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Mar 2014

Total posts 221

Oh hell no...

God anyone know of  the absolute best noise cancelling headphones .... 

Note from above: it's "not expected that phone calls or traditional text messages could be made or sent during a flight", rather that China's current ban which prohibits you from even switching your phone on during the flight (even in flight mode), would be lifted.

Should that occur, it'd match the same policy Qantas and Virgin Australia have now: your phone can be switched on and you can enable WiFi, but your phone needs to be in flight mode.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

25 Mar 2014

Total posts 221

I have flown domestically in China for a long time and they do not stick to those rules...

04 Nov 2012

Total posts 219

This will be the biggest turn off for passengers ever.

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

11 Mar 2015

Total posts 191

it's bad enough to suffer from idiots using or rather abusing their mobile phones on a bus for the entire journey bleating their heads off-but on a flight when people try to sleep and some people shouting on their phone for hours???? That's the end for flying for me.What a stupid decision from airlines to allow this nonsense,particularly if you pay through the nose already for a business or first class ticket.


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