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26 Aug 2014

Finally gate-to-gate electronics!!

CASA approves gate-to-gate use of devices for Virgin Australia and Qantas

Electronic devices have just been approved for take-off, with both of Australia's major domestic carriers this evening confirming gate-to-gate use of smartphones and tablets effective from tomorrow.

The move has taken just one working day since CASA laid out assessment procedures for the devices on Friday, with Virgin Australia confirming that gadgets weighing less than 1kg will be permitted at all stages of a flight as long as "flight mode" is selected.

VA's approval, valid from tomorrow morning, applies to all of its mainline domestic and short-haul international flights on Boeing 737, Embraer 190 and Airbus A330 aircraft. Devices weighing more than 1kg will be required to be stowed during take-off and landing, and passengers will be asked to pause use of the devices while the pre-flight safety briefing is under way.

VA flights to or from New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu and Fiji are excluded as approval for these services is needed from the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand.

Virgin Australia customers can also access the airline's wi-fi entertainment system "with more than 300 hours of film, television and music content at their fingertips from the moment they sit down," the carrier said.

Qantas mainline domestic and international will implement the changes on flights departing from 3pm from tomorrow afternoon, while QantasLink and Jetstar are in the final stages of preparing their submission to CASA for the extended use of personal electronic devices.

Qantas also said it's "working towards" enabling customers to use their own devices via a Q Streaming app to access 350 hours of on-demand entertainment on selected aicraft.

QF domestic ceo Lyell Strambi said the changes were an "exciting development in customer experience" for the airline.

Travel Daily 25/8/2014