You May Soon Be Able to Use Your Smartphone While Flying With a Chinese Carrier

Sep 19, 2017

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

The Chinese Civil Aviation Administration’s latest change in policy will affect the more than 487 million passengers who travel through the country each year. On Monday, the country’s aviation authority announced that it will change its strict — and quirky — policy that bans passengers from using their mobile devices during flight, even if it’s in airplane mode.

According to the South China Morning Post, Chinese airlines will now have the choice of whether or not they will allow passengers to use their mobile devices while in the air. Currently, all Chinese carriers are required by the government to ban the use of devices, such as phones, while flying in their metal. However, among the new changes announced on Monday, the choice of whether or not to allow the use of phones will be up to each individual airline.

TPG’s Nick Ellis experienced the strange policy first-hand when he flew in business class on Xiamen Air’s 787 from Seattle (SEA) to Shenzhen (SZX). When he started using his phone to listen to music, a flight attendant informed him of the policy and offered a velvet pouch to store his phone for the duration of the flight. He was lucky, though. In February, three passengers were detained by Beijing police after using their phones during flight.

xiamen pouch
Xiamen Air’s business-class amenity kit features a purple velvet pouch for your phone (top left).

With the new regulations, Chinese carriers will be required to update their policies by the end of 2019. Hopefully many of the carriers will take to allowing passengers to use their phones — at least when on airplane mode. Presumably, it would be hard for a carrier that doesn’t allow phone usage to compete with one that does — at least as far as passenger experience is concerned. Until each airline implements its own policy, we recommend bringing a laptop or tablet with downloaded content in order to ensure you’re entertained during your flight.

H/T: One Mile at a Time

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
  • Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
  • Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.