China’s airlines have started Wi-Fi service on planes after the country’s aviation authority issued a new document to standardize the use of Personal Equipment Data (PED) devices.
China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines, two giant airlines in China, announced that the use of PEDs will be allowed in flight starting Thursday. Spring Airlines, a low-cost carrier in China, said it plans to allow the use of smartphones on airplane mode on its domestic and international flights starting Feb. 1, according to People’s Daily.
PEDs refer to portable electronic devices such as personal computers, tablets, smartphones, and e-readers. Traditionally, the use of such devices was not permitted in flight for fear that they could influence the plane’s communication and navigation systems. But now, passengers can switch to airplane mode and stay connected on the free Wi-Fi service.
This means passengers are now able to use their favorite social networks such as Weibo or WeChat, have a video chat, pay for tax-free products or souvenirs by mobile, or just surf the internet.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) issued the guidance to provide more detailed information for evaluation and management. Electronic devices without an airplane mode feature are still not allowed to be used in flight. In addition, PEDs larger than the permitted size are only allowed to be used when there is no turbulence.
Some passengers on the China Eastern Airlines flight complained about the slow internet speed. A crew member responded that the wireless network is still in a trial phase, ThePaper.cn reported. The number of Wi-Fi users is also limited to one hundred.