Turn on Flight Mode, Please!
A number of domestic airlines have announced that they will allow passengers to use in-flight portable electronic devices after the regulator loosened restrictions. However, most domestic flights are not yet equipped with Wi-Fi services and that is not set to change significantly in the near future.
Hainan Airlines and China Eastern Airlines were the first to announce that passengers could use mobile phones, tablets and laptops with airplane mode switched on during the whole flight.
Later, China Southern, Xiamen Air, Shandong Airlines, Spring Airlines, Lucky Air, Sichuan Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines and Air China, announced in a week that the use of electronic devices is permitted on their flights.
Currently, a small number of flights in China are equipped with Wi-Fi services. Some passengers said the current Wi-Fi services are slow and ineffective, with it taking about 5 to 10 minutes to send a picture.
National Business Daily reported it costs airlines about 7 million yuan to modify a plane to enable it to provide in-air Wi-Fi services. Industry analysts said because of the limitations of costs, technologies and the number of satellites, they cannot provide a large number of Wi-Fi-enabled flights in the short term.
As of this week, China Eastern has 74 aircraft that are equipped with Wi-Fi, covering its entire international long-haul fleet and more than 160 key domestic routes, with most of them charging fees. All of Hainan Airlines' Boeing B787-9 aircraft are equipped with Wi-Fi services. Xiamen Airlines has limited slots for Wi-Fi connection, with economy class passengers needing to apply for access beforehand.
Industry analysts also said that if airlines equipped Wi-Fi and online payment services, it would help them to sell value-added products, such as duty-free products and paid-for films. Meanwhile, if more flights could install Wi-Fi, it would improve the overall competitiveness of the civil aviation sector, and close the gap between the travel experiences on planes and high-speed trains.
long-haul fleet: 远程航线
slot: n. 插槽；位置
civil aviation: 民用航空