Ryanair says keep your phone on — and prepare for wi-fi

Passengers who board Ryanair flights will not be asked to turn off their phones — and the next step in onboard wifi.

The budget airline continued its recent charm offensive by becoming the first Irish flyer to allow the use of electronic devices on board its aircraft following a ruling by the European Aviation Safety Agency last November.

It entitles passengers to keep their phones, tablets, and Kindles on at all times during the flight, as long as it is on ‘flight’ mode and everyone looks and listens during the pre-flight safety demonstration.

Ryanair spokesman Robin Kiely said the move was the latest effort by Ryanair to “make the passenger experience more enjoyable”.

He said the Irish Aviation Authority was one of the first such bodies to adopt the practice following US and British authorities allowing for phone use last year.

As for the use of phones during flight time, he said “common sense would prevail” — meaning there would be no instructions for passengers apart from obvious pointers like not taking photographs of other passengers or playing music at top volume.

Smartphone and tablet addicts who found the time in the air intolerable without their devices can now rest easy — and Ryanair is already planning on introducing wifi onboard.

“We are looking into wifi,” Robin Kiely said, adding that one difficulty faced by European airlines, as opposed to those in the US, is flight paths crossing over different wifi regions.

That indicates the need for in-flight wifi, which he said was currently an expensive undertaking.

“It is some way off yet until we can find a cheaper version,” he said.

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary last year signalled a change of tack towards the passengers who use the airline, saying there would be renewed focus on enhanced customer service.

A raft of measures have been introduced, from a free second piece of carry-on luggage to allocated seating.

Robin Kiely said a revamped website would be next, followed by a refreshed Ryanair app, and a new boarding pass system.

It’s enough to make you reach for your phone — even when you’re in the air.


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