While on-board the aircraft, you need to be familiar with the safety procedures, including when you can use electronic equipment.
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The use of mobile phones on board aircraft by flight crew, cabin crew and passengers presents a source of uncontrolled electro-magnetic radiation with a risk of adverse interference effects to required aircraft systems including those used for communications and navigation.
In recognising that no equipment may be installed or operated on an aircraft until it has been proven to be safe, the use of mobile phones on board aircraft in flight is operationally prohibited.
This prohibition normally commences once all of the aircraft doors are closed upon departure, until they are reopened again upon arrival.
Ofcom recently agreed (March 2008) to allow airlines to offer mobile phone services on aircraft flying within UK Airspace, as long as such services are only operated when the aircraft is more than 3000m above the ground. A number of other national and international telecommunication regulatory bodies are considering the same position.
Airlines wishing to offer such services must still satisfy the appropriate airworthiness requirements and prove that use of mobile phones and the equipment installed to enable the service cannot cause adverse interference to required aircraft equipment. Airlines will also need to develop operating procedures preventing any significant increase in crew workload.
On aircraft equipped with such systems, mobile phone use will only be permitted during the cruise phase of flight, recognising the telecommunication operating height restriction and to ensure the aircraft cabin is secure for takeoff and landing.
Some airlines already offered the facility to make telephone calls from your seat using installed handsets. These calls are made using equipment that is normally part of the onboard entertainment system, the call being made through a hard-wired link in the aircraft system to a dedicated antenna on the aircraft exterior. This approach prevents interference with required aircraft systems.