Qantas, Virgin passengers can use electronic devices in-flight

Travellers on Qantas and Virgin will be able to keep their electronic devices powered on during all phases of flight from Tuesday.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority on Monday approved applications from both airlines that will allow passengers to keep their phones, tablets and e-readers on even during take-off or landing.

The devices will need to remain in "flight mode" throughout the flight.

Devices weighing more than 1 kilogram, such as laptops, will still need to be stored for take off and landing. Smaller devices will need to be held by a passenger or secured in the pocket of a garment or the magazine pocket on the back of the seat.

Similar privileges are already in place in the United States, Europe and New Zealand.

Before the changes, devices could be powered on for as little as 15 minutes of the flight on short sectors like Sydney to Canberra due to the duration taken up by take-off and landing.

The move will allow Virgin Australia customers using the airline's in flight entertainment system, which streams via Wi-Fi, to watch a film or television show during the flight.

Virgin Australia chief customer officer Mark Hassell said the company was pleased to be introducing the initiative without delay.

"Today's announcement means that our customers will be able to use their personal devices throughout their entire journey with us, maximising their work or leisure time," he said.


Virgin Australia will allow customers to do so from the first flight on Tuesday.

However, passengers will still need to pay attention to the on-board safety briefings and other instructions from crew members.

Qantas Domestic chief executive Lyell Strambi said the new changes, to take effect on his airline's flights from Tuesday afternoon, would be positive for customers.

"Whether customers choose to listen to music, read their e-books or review work documents, the introduction of gate-to-gate electronic access on Qantas flights is an exciting development to an already exceptional inflight entertainment service," he said.

Jetstar and QantasLink are in the final stages of preparing their applications for the extended use of personal electronic devices.

A Tigerair Australia spokeswoman said her airline would be applying for approvals "imminently".