I was on a flight on 18th April, and the announcement during start & landing was that all devices, including those with flight mode have to be completely switched off.

On 8th of May I was again on the same airline (Swiss), and the announcement was that devices have to be in flight mode or switched off if they do not have flight mode.

This essentially means that one can now continue to listen to music, etc. on a smartphone during takeoff and landing. Is this a new international regulation, or only something that Swiss changed?

  • 3
    This also changed in the US within the last few months. But by my understanding, it wasn't an international regulation, but rather a national one made by the FAA, the US aviation regulator. Commented May 12, 2014 at 6:21
  • Can you also wear headphones? I would think the main issue with listening to music is not electronic interferences but the fact that you would not react as quickly to announcements or instructions from the crew.
    – Relaxed
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 6:32
  • @Annoyed I never heard anything about headphones in any announcement.
    – uncovery
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 6:34
  • 1
    @uncovery Neither did I but I witnessed cabin crew asking people to put them off, even when they said their devices were off.
    – Relaxed
    Commented May 12, 2014 at 6:44
  • Airliners can decide for themselves on the policy regarding electronic devices as long as it is compatible with the regulations Commented May 12, 2014 at 9:13

1 Answer 1


Yes, the regulations did change both in the US and in Europe.

There is an older question about using a Kindle on flights, where I recently added an answer explaining the change of rules of both the FAA and the EASA.

For your specific case with Swiss, the change by the EASA is responsible. Their press release states:

The EU's Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has today updated its guidance on the use of portable electronic devices on board (PED), including smartphones, tablets and e-readers. It confirms that these devices may be kept switched on in "Flight Mode" (non-transmitting mode) throughout the journey (including taxiing, take-off and landing) without a risk to safety.

and then goes on

The updated safety guidance published today refers to portable electronic devices (PED) used in non-transmitting mode, better known as "flight mode". It allows, for the first time, the use of personal electronic devices in flight mode in all phases of the journey, from gate to gate.

Swiss adopted this and reflected it in their regulations starting May 1, 2014. See this news article for example. Other European airlines are also starting to permit this.

I am however not sure how the rules changed in other parts of the world.

  • 3
    In India the rules have been updated like this (electronic devices can be used if in flight mode) Commented May 12, 2014 at 7:30
  • Not only EASA changed that, also FAA did that Commented May 12, 2014 at 11:01
  • @drat oh sorry, didn't notice it, good job by the way Commented May 12, 2014 at 11:17

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