Article by: Julie Kang

Airplane travel is truly more fun in the Philippines. Passengers may now use their cellphones, laptops, and other “transmitting portable devices” during flights, under the the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) recently announced the new directive, which took effect early January of 2014. Contrary to the widespread belief that using such devices for communication during flights pose safety dangers, John Andrews, the deputy director general of the CAAP, assures the public that allowing the use of such devices “does not impair the safety of flights.”

The memorandum released by the CAAP, however, qualifies the conditions for the use of electronic devices. Although passengers may use their cellphones and laptops, voice calls are not allowed as to not disturb other people in the flight. Only calls using the global system for mobile communication on-board aircraft (GSMOBA) are permissible. Short memory service (SMS) is permitted with cellphones, but these devices must be placed on silent mode. Passengers may also listen to music with their MP3 players provided that they use earphones.

Andrews points out that despite the directive, airlines have the prerogative to allow or disallow the use of such electronic devices on-board. He also clarifies that the new policy is applicable only within the jurisdiction of the Philippine territory. With some restrictions still present, it is questionable if the new directive will have much impact on passengers’ flights. Still, with technology getting integrated more and more into our lives, from leisure to work, the directive may prove to be useful for many, especially for those who travel more than others.

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