For the longest time, India has had a rule, which stated that Portable Electronic Devices could not be used while planes are airborne, not even in flight-safe/airplane mode. Not that it dissuaded passengers because we thought our rules were in line with the rest of the world and hence we continued to use them anyways. Sometimes you’d run into issues with airline staff, because they wanted compliance, but it would all pan out well in the end. Until the DGCA put SpiceJet in a mess for this incident on Holi.
Yesterday, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, India’s civil aviation regulator, decided to finally update the rulebook to bring it in line with the rest of the world. the last changes to these guidelines were made 14 years ago, and then now. Incidentally, the note going around via the DGCA website, does not have its own strength, but it depends on the work done by the FAA and EASA to determine that Indian carriers can also now authorise the use of Portable Electronic Devices, including Mobile Phones, in airplane mode. The new notification of rules, made last evening reads:
Electronic devices, intentionally transmitting radio signals like mobile/cellular phones, amateur radio transceivers, etc., if carried on board, shall be kept in non-transmitting mode (commonly referred to as Flight/Airplane Mode).
Earlier, passengers were allowed to only use their phones after exiting the active runway. Now, they will be able to keep it on and in Flight Mode throughout to use them for other purposes such as playing games, reading a book etc. Also, your Kindles and iPads are now considered safe for use throughout the flight.
However, this is still supposed to be included by various airlines in their safety manuals, so it would still be a few days before you can actually use your PEDs all through the flight. I hope that happens soon as well.
This puts India right behind the USA and UK in implementing new guidelines regarding the use of electronic devices gate to gate. Kudos!