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China finally lifts ban on mobile phone use during flights

Several major Chinese airlines have started to allow passengers to use smartphones during flights following the loosening of policies from relevant regulators.

Chinese airlines have allowed passengers to use mobile phones during flights since last week, following the decision of the Civil Administration of China (CAAC) to relax regulations.

Air China permitted users to switch on their mobile devices from Sunday, following the lead from China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines, who loosened regulations last week, said a Sina news report.

Air China was the last among the four biggest airlines in China to loosen its rules

Until last week, mobile phones were required to be completely switched off during flights on any Chinese airlines. Now, passengers on board Chinese aircraft can use portable electronic devices including smartphones and tablets as long as they're switched to airplane mode.

Many Chinese airlines are also offering in-flight Wi-Fi services to tap the huge market; recent reports showed that the three largest airlines in China -- China Southern Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, and Air China -- each reported passenger boardings of more than 100 million in 2017.

Currently, about 112 Chinese aircraft have been equipped with in-flight Wi-Fi services by China Telecom, one of the major telecom operators in China, according to another Chinese report.

China Southern Airlines is offering Wi-Fi services to passengers on 15 Airbus A330-300 aircraft. The service is free of charge to all first class and business class users, but passengers travelling economy have to apply for the free service 24 hours before departure, said the report.

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