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Mobile Access | Cellular telephones in flight-mode

Use of Cell Phones in Flight-mode During Flights

South African Airways’ application to the South African CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) for an exemption to allow the use of cellular telephones in flight-mode during the cruise-phase of a flight has been granted. The exemption applies to all flights (domestic, regional, international) and all aircraft types.

SAA passengers will be permitted to use personal electronic devices such as cell phones, e-readers and electronic tablets in flight-mode or an equivalent mode.

Flight Mode is a setting available on many mobile phones and other Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) that when engaged suspends  the device's signal transmitting functions – thereby disabling the device's capacity to place or receive calls or text messages while still permitting use of other functions that do not require signal transmission, such as calendars, address books, reading and preparing e-mail, etc.

To effectively manage the risk to aircraft systems, the use of PEDs on board is divided into four categories: Unrestricted, Limited, Restricted and Prohibited. The information below provides guidance on typical PEDs and the restrictions governing their use. All PEDs must be switched off and stowed safely for taxi, take-off, approach and landing.






These  items can be used at any time These items may be used before doors close/after doors open These items may be used with the permission of the Pilot in Command, and is normally indicated by the seat belt signs being switched OFF during climb and ON during descent. Should circumstances dictate otherwise, the Commander will inform the Senior Cabin Crew Member (SCCM) These items are prohibited at all times.
Hearing aid (including digital devices);
Electronic watches;
Pager (receiver only);
Heart pacemakers;
Devices powered by solar cells;
Devices powered by micro battery cell;
Mobile phones. Laptops with CD ROM and DVD drive;
Palm held organisers;
Audio equipment (e.g. walkman, CD player, iPod, MP3 player);
Computer consoles (e.g. Nintendo DS, PSP);
Devices capable of recording;
Digital cameras;
GPS handheld receivers;
Video camera / recorder (including digital equipment);
Bluetooth devices in flight mode selected;
Mobile phones flight mode selected;
Devices with BlackBerry technology with flight mode selected;
Laptops, PDAs, Tablets, E-readers with built in WI-FI with wireless off setting selected;
Devices transmitting radio frequency intentionally;
Remote controlled toys;
Display units with cathode ray tubes;
Wireless computer equipment (e.g. mouse);
PC printers;
PC scanners;
Laser pointers;
CD writers and mini disc recorders in the recording mode;
Portable stereo sets;
Pocket radios (AM/FM)
TV transmitters / receivers;
Telemetric equipment;
Wireless LAN;

Cabin crewmembers are responsible for enforcing the policy regarding the use of PEDs on board.

If the cabin crew are unable to confirm that the transmitting function on an intentionally transmitting device has been disabled, then the device should be switched off. In addition, the Commander may prohibit the use of any PED if this is required in the interest of safety.

After embarkation, and prior to the cabin doors being closed, the IFSC/SCCM (In-flight Service Co-ordinator/Senior Cabin Crew Member) shall make an announcement advising passengers of the conditions under which flight mode may be used.

Passengers will be required to select the flight mode functionality PRIOR to switching their cell phones off in preparation for the flight. The use of these devices in flight mode (as per the exemption application) will be indicated by the Commander switching off the “fasten seat-belt” sign after take-off and switching on the “fasten seat belt” sign again in preparation for landing.

Please Note:

If a passenger is uncertain how to select flight mode on the cell phone, the passenger must be advised that the device must remain switched off for the duration of the flight.

If at any point during a flight any irregularities or interference are detected in the flight deck, flight mode is to be suspended IMMEDIATELY. In this event, the Commander shall make an announcement to this effect.