It’s been a good week for frequent flyers in Europe. Yesterday the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) announced it will allow the use of mobile devices and other personal electronics in “Flight Mode” from gate to gate, and soon afterward the European Commission (EC) issued a press release giving airlines the right to offer 3G and 4G LTE signals onboard.
Previously, airlines were allowed to offer 2G signals suitable for making calls or sending text messages but those are too slow to support Internet browsing or online apps. For now, even LTE networks won’t be able to bring you high speed internet during your flight since the technology is designed to serve users on the ground not in the air, but a number of companies are already working on new technology to beam LTE signals directly to planes.
Just because EC has given the go ahead doesn’t mean European flights will allow you to start making calls overnight. Instead, each airline will decide whether or not to change their rules or keep things as they are.