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Canada relaxes airline device restrictions for take off, landing

05/27, 12:07pm

Rule change allows passenger use of mobile devices throughout Canadian flights

Airlines operating in Canada could soon allow passengers to use electronic devices during takeoff and landing, thanks to a rule change. The exemption to the Canadian Aviation Regulations will now let passengers use devices throughout entire flights within the country's borders, though it will still require airlines to adhere to certain rules for it to be allowed.

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Ryanair CEO: Google constructing airline comparison tool

01/14, 6:16am

Upgrade for Google Flight Search could be on the way

Google is planning to change the way passengers buy tickets for air travel, according to the head of an airline. Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, claimed in an interview that the airline is working with the search firm, with Google said to be constructing a flight comparison site that sounds like an improved version of the company's existing Flight Search capabilities.

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FAA relaxes electronic device flight rules for take-off, landing

10/31, 11:21am

Smartphones, tablets in flight mode given OK for use at take-off

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has determined that it is safe for passengers to use portable electronic devices on all phases of a flight, something it has been investigating for quite some time. The new recommendations will allow for mobile phones, tablets and other similar devices to be used during the take-off and landing of an aircraft, as well as when the aircraft reaches an altitude of at least 10,000 feet.

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Briefly: Gogo expands to Japan, Nvidia updates Shield to Android 4.3

10/28, 2:08pm

Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi adopted by Japan Airlines, rolls out mid-2014

Gogo's in-flight Wi-Fi is heading to Japan, with the entire Japan Airlines (JAL) fleet of domestic planes set to offer the service. The move, following Delta Airline's adoption of Gogo on its international fleet, will see all 77 JAL domestic aircraft start offering the Ku-band satellite Internet service to customers beginning in the summer of 2014, writes Engadget.

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FAA committee recommends lifting in-flight tech restrictions

09/27, 5:31am

Advisory panel suggests relaxing ban on device usage at takeoff, landing

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will be taking another look at its rules preventing passengers from using electronic devices during takeoff and landing from next week. A high-level 28-member advisory committee examining the issue has recommended that the FAA relaxes the rules, with the formal report on the discussions being presented to the FAA on Monday.

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Southwest Airlines offers passengers live in-flight TV from Dish

07/02, 12:51pm

Live TV promoted by iPad giveaway to passengers on flight

Satellite TV provider Dish Network will be providing free live TV to passengers on Southwest Airlines flights. The service, titled TV Flies Free, will be available on more than 400 Southwest planes with Wi-Fi onboard, and will offer up to 75 on-demand shows at no charge, as well as access to 13 live-streaming channels.

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Briefly: Airline tests electronic bag tags, Sceptre Android sound bar

06/28, 7:07am

British Airways tests electronic tags for airline baggage

Airlines may use electronic tags for luggage labeling instead of paper versions in the future. British Airways is using a Designworks-created electronic baggage tag as part of a trial, with information able to be updated on the e-paper display wirelessly using a smartphone app and an NFC or Bluetooth connection, allowing it to be used multiple times and potentially saving waste. If successful, British Airwars will provide larger quantities of tags to customers, which could also potentially be reused by other airlines.

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JetBlue to adopt iPads for in-cockpit use

06/26, 11:44am

To replace notebooks and paper-based flight bags

US airline JetBlue has announced plans to adopt iPads for in-cockpit use. Pilots will be trained on the use of three "core" apps, which will provide real-time status updates and eventually eliminate the need to carry flight bags based on laptops and paper charts and manuals. For Internet access the iPads will connect to a satellite service provided by LiveTV.

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American Airlines completes rollout of iPads to cockpits

06/24, 4:55pm

Replaces older, bulkier flight bags

American Airlines has finished deploying iPads to all of the planes in its fleet, according to an announcement. Over 8,000 tablets have been issued to pilots and trainers as a replacement for their earlier paper-based flight bags, which weighed around 35 pounds each. Each iPad is loaded with essential information such as flight manuals and navigation charts.

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FAA close to relaxing in-flight tech restrictions, decision due soon

06/21, 7:26am

Advisory panel granted 2-month extension on device report for FAA

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is close to loosening the restrictions on electronics on planes, after a long period of deliberation, according to a report. Recommendations from a 28-member high-level advisory panel and industry officials in a draft report are apparently leading the FAA to lift the ban on the use of personal electronics at low altitudes.

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FAA may relax in-flight device rules by end of 2013

03/25, 12:33pm

Prohibitions against phones likely to stay in place

The US Federal Aviation Administration is hoping to announce looser restrictions on in-flight use of portable electronics by the end of 2013, according to sources for the New York Times. The people belong to an industry working group set up by the FAA, and add that the latter is specifically considering allowing reading devices during takeoff and landing, including tablets and e-readers. Devices may still have to be set to Airplane mode, though, and cellphones are expected to remain off-limits.

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Delta to deploy 4,500 iPads at US airport restaurants

08/29, 6:47pm

Arrangement allows ordering, limited travel, entertainment functions

Delta Air Lines is deploying 250 iPads at restaurants in Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to an announcement. Travelers can find the hardware at Concourse G's MinniBar, Mimosa, and Shoyu. The rollout follows one at New York's LaGuardia Airport, and is part of a plan that will eventually see Delta using over 4,500 iPads at three airport hubs within the next year.

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Gogo gains required license for in-flight Wi-Fi in Canada

08/28, 11:48pm

Canadian service focusing on existing Gogo for rollout

In-flight Wi-Fi provider Gogo has been given approval to offer its service in Canada. Industry Canada has issued a subordinate license to the company, allowing it to serve flights using its air-to-ground radio-based technology. Both internal flights and those crossing the border into the US will get access.

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Scoot Pte switches aircraft to iPads to drop fuel costs

06/04, 2:58pm

Planes previously used two tons of in-flight entertainment systems

Singapore-based airline Scoot Pte has switched to iPads for in-flight entertainment in order to save fuel, Bloomberg notes. The company's CEO, Campbell Wilson, claims that the move cut off about 7 percent of the weight from planes received from Scoot's parent company, Singapore Airlines. This is despite increasing seating in the planes by 40 percent.

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iPhone catches fire onboard Australian jetliner

11/28, 3:20pm

Rare instance of hazardous iPhone defect

An iPhone recently caught fire onboard a Regional Express jet in Australia, a press release from the carrier reveals. The plane had just landed after a flight from Lismore to Sydney when the airline says that a passenger's iPhone began "emitting a significant amount of dense smoke, accompanied by a red glow." A photo of the phone's back shows extensive damage, including a missing chunk and cracks throughout the glass.

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British Airways testing iPads with cabin crews

08/18, 1:50pm

May replace printed lists, manuals

British Airways has begun a pilot project testing the iPad with cabin crews. 100 crew members have been given the tablet so far, with the goal of streamlining some aspects of customer service. Each iPad is, for example, loaded with passenger lists and seating charts, which are updated just before each flight. Crews can likewise check Executive Club status and special meal requests.

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Gogo: iPhones two-thirds of devices using in-flight Wi-Fi

07/29, 9:55am

iPod touch comes in ahead of Android, BlackBerry

iPhones represent almost two-thirds of the mobile devices using Gogo's in-flight Wi-Fi service, the network provider says. The category notably excludes tablets and notebooks, which are classified as computers and require people to pay more for in-flight connections. In the mobile arena the iPod touch is in fact the second-place device, with a 20 percent share.

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Delta joins airlines investigating iPad for cockpit use

03/07, 12:00pm

First major carrier to join

While Delta Air Lines is "still vastly paper driven" when it comes to navigational charts, the company is seeking approval to test the iPad and other tablets beginning next quarter, according to spokeswoman Gina Laughlin. The Federal Aviation Administration only recently approved the use of the iPad instead of paper charts or electronic flight bags (EFBs). Although EFBs may offer some of the advantages of tablets, they can weigh as much as 18 pounds versus the iPad 1's 1.5 or the iPad 2's 1.3.

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Southwest Airlines starts selling iTunes music, video

02/23, 4:35pm

In-flight service generates royalties

Southwest Airlines has launched a new in-flight service selling content from iTunes, according to Variety. Dubbed InAirtainment, the service actually takes the form of a website through which people can browse for music, movies or TV shows hosted on iTunes. Southwest says is it is claiming a small royalty from every download, which may be 5 percent if the airline is enrolled in the normal iTunes Affiliate program.

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Iceland Express adds iPad to in-flight options

11/24, 2:50pm

Option initially limited to transatlantic service

Airline Iceland Express says it is now offering iPads as a form of in-flight entertainment. The rental option costs $13, £9 or 1,500 ISK per flight. The airline is only currently offering tablets on transatlantic trips, but says it plans to offer them on all planes within the next few months.

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11-inch MacBook Air cleared by TSA to stay in bags

10/28, 2:50pm

Puts Air in league with netbooks

The 11-inch MacBook Air can stay in a bag while being taken through airport security, the Transportation Security Administration has ruled. Because the computer is "smaller than a standard-size laptop," according to TSA spokesman Nicholas Kimball, it does not have to be scanned separately during the X-ray process. Normally, policies require larger electronics to be taken out of a bag so a scanner can get a clearer shot.

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Qantas plans to incorporate iPads on Jetstar flights

10/18, 12:10pm

'Broader roll out' coming, says spokesman

Jetstar flights run by Australia's Qantas Airways will soon feature iPads for in-flight entertainment, Dow Jones reports. "We're in the final stages of putting in place what would be a broader roll out across the network," says a Jetstar spokesman. "We're in ongoing discussion with the manufacturer around a more integrated network proposition." An Apple Australia spokeswoman has declined to comment.

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Lufthansa offers free flight to iPhone engineer

04/23, 11:15am

Promotional stunt exploits lost iPhone prototype

German airline Lufthansa is offering a free flight to Germany for Gray Powell, the Apple engineer who accidentally left a prototype iPhone behind at a German-themed bar in California. Specifically Powell is being offered a business-class flight to Munich, where Lufthansa has just opened a beer lounge. "I recently read in the news that you lost a very special phone at a German beer bar in California," reads a letter from the airline's Americas marketing director, Nicola Lange.

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Wi-SKY promises 45Mbps in-flight Internet

06/03, 1:00pm

45Mbps airline Internet

Having presented the technology during the Immarsat Aeronautical Conference, one company claims it can significantly boost the speeds of in-flight Internet. Wi-SKY is promising download rates as fast as 45Mbps, potentially dozens of times quicker than the access offered by airlines like Virgin America. Taking to the air, Wi-SKY is last Tuesday said to have demonstrated seamless streaming for functions like Skype video calls.

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United lays out plans for in-flight Internet

01/14, 1:00pm

United in-flight Internet

United Airlines will bring in-flight Internet access to a portion of its planes later this year, according to an announcement. The company has specifically chosen AirCell's gogo service, which has already been attached to companies like Delta, American Airlines and Virgin America. Passengers will be able to connect via any Wi-Fi device, and access conventional Internet functions such as e-mail and web browsing, or more elaborate ones like VPN tunneling.

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FlightTrack for iPhone monitors flights, routes

11/20, 3:15pm

FlightTrack for iPhone

Developer Ben Kazez has introduced FlightTrack, a new program for iPhones and iPod touches. The app uses data from FlightView to display flight routes in real-time, as well as related information. Aside from visual depiction of a flight's progress, users are given arrival and departure times, the current weather situation, and even the current speed and altitude of a particular plane.

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United adds iPod/iPhone hookups to int'l flights

06/16, 3:55pm

Skies friendlier for iPods

United Airlines on Monday said it is the first U.S. Carrier to offer iPod and iPhone connectivity to its in-flight entertainment systems. The hook-ups will allow passengers to view video content on their own 15.4 inch “personal television” as their iPod or iPhone charges. United says the upgrades will be installed in first and business class in its entire international widebody fleet over the next two years.

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Singapore Airlines offers iPod, iPhone integration

05/15, 3:20pm

iPods on Singapore Air

iPods and iPhones are now supported on some flights out of the US, Singapore Airlines has announced. The company says that beginning today, business-class, non-stop A345 flights from Newark to Singapore will offer special 30-to-9-pin adapter cables to go along with its KrisWorld in-flight entertainment technology. This will allow passengers to not only listen to music through KrisWorld, but watch video on a larger LCD, and power their players at the same time.

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Airline uses free iPods to lure travellers

03/26, 10:40am

Airline iPod giveaway

A transatlantic airline is giving away iPods in order to lure and retain customers, according to an announcement. Eos Airlines says that between today and April 11th, people booking flights between New York and London will be eligible for some form of free iPod, depending on ticket prices. Those spending $4,000 or less on a round trip can secure either an iPod nano, or 15,000 points for Eos services; if the tickets cost more than $4,000, people can pick an iPod classic, or 30,000 points.

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Lithium batteries to be banned from air luggage

12/28, 3:35pm

Luggage lithium ban

Within days, air travellers will no longer be able hold loose lithium batteries in their luggage, the US Department of Transportation says. As of January 1st, batteries will either have to be inserted into a phone, notebook or other electronic device, or else dropped into a plastic bag, and bundled along with carry-on baggage in a limit of two batteries per passenger.

The issue, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, is that if a lithium battery catches fire while in a cargo hold, current extinguishing systems are unable to stop the blaze. The National Transportation Safety Board insists that it cannot rule out lithium as the source of a plane fire at the Philadelphia International Airport in 2006.

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Airlines planning to filter in-flight Internet

12/26, 12:55pm

Airline Internet filtering

As airlines begin resuming in-flight Internet services, some have already decided to filter what passengers can do, writes the Associated Press. American Airlines -- confirming plans -- will be joined by Alaska Airlines in soon blocking access to VoIP services such as Skype, while companies such as Virgin America are currently contemplating a ban. The problem is that VoIP not only consumes large amounts of bandwidth, but may generate tremendous noise in a cabin from numerous ongoing conversations. Wi-Fi-enabled handsets could help circumvent the bandwidth concern.

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Air France tests data through standard cell signals

12/20, 3:15pm

Air France tests cellular

Air France has become the world's first airline to equip an international flight with a form of regular cellular technology, says the Associated Press. One of the company's Airbus A318s now lets users send e-mail and text messages through an onboard GSM antenna, which connects to a satellite that in turn transmits to the ground. The main obstacle for the service, at the moment, is infrequency; aside from only being a part of a six-month test, not all flights on the A318 will have access. To this end a "No Mobile" light has been installed in the plane.

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American Airlines joining jets with Wi-Fi?

12/07, 1:05pm

American Airlines Wi-Fi?

American Airlines may be the next company to adopt in-flight Internet via Wi-Fi, an anonymous tip claims. According to the source, transcontinental 767-200s will be fitted with broadband and Wi-Fi in 2008, the responsible company being AirCell. Earlier this year, AirCell announced that it had acquired FCC frequencies which would allow it to resurrect Wi-Fi; the technology had by that point long vanished from US flights, as Boeing's Connexion service had suffered a financial collapse.

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Cellular boarding passes start use in Houston

12/05, 4:50pm

Cellular boarding passes

Some airline passengers boarding in Houston, Texas today may be the first in the US to use their cellphones as boarding passes. Continental Airlines and the Transportation Security Administration have launched a pilot project at George Bush International Airport, in which fliers with cellphones (or PDA-like devices) are able to receive on-screen barcodes, which are in turn scanned by TSA employees at an appropriate checkpoint. The specific implementation of the technology is not being used anywhere else in the world, claims TSA official Melvin Carraway.

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