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EU: Airplane mode may soon become a distant memory

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For most travelers, switching to airplane mode is a no-brainer, and it’s usually done right after you’ve been asked to buckle up and made sure your luggage is properly stowed. However, passengers traveling within the European Union (EU) will soon be able to call, text, and use their mobile data during the flight.

Use 5G on the go

When traveling within the EU, passengers will soon be able to play games, watch movies, send text messages, and even make phone calls during the flight. In fact, the European Commission’s decision from December 2022 requires airlines to provide 5G and slower mobile data on their aircraft. EU members have until June 30, 2023, to make the adjustments and put the bands in place for their aircraft.

Although details are not announced and may vary from carrier to carrier, roaming charges and other charges may apply. Also, it’s unclear if Airplane Mode will be removed entirely for flights within the European Union.

Will the United States follow suit?

It is likely that the United States will not follow the example of the European Union, at least for now. This is because 5G networks are different in the United States and operate at a frequency closer to that of aircraft equipment.

These frequencies can interfere with aircraft, including safety equipment. There are also concerns that these cell phone networks could interfere with the aircraft’s ability to measure altitude.

In summary

If you’re traveling to the EU this summer, chances are you’ll be able to use your phone to make calls, send texts, and use other available features. On the other hand, travelers to the United States will not have the same possibility due to security concerns regarding cellular frequencies and aircraft security.

Translated article from the American magazine Forbes – Author: Jeff Whitmore

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