The New Flight Mode? Bluetooth Only?

Air New Zealand is now allowing the use of Bluetooth devices in flight, a move I’m very happy with:

Air New Zealand passengers will now be able to use their Fitbits to record the number of steps they make from their plane seat to the toilet, thanks to the airline’s new Bluetooth policy.


From Thursday, customers flying on any domestic or international flight will be able to operate Bluetooth devices from the departure gate to the arrival gate, as long as their devices are set to flight mode.


This includes Fitbit devices, Apple Watches and Bluetooth headsets. Passengers will also be able to operate a wireless mouse and wireless keyboard during cruise.

So here’s the problem: setting a device to “flight mode” disables Bluetooth. You can’t state the conditions as above, unless there is a new flight mode from the device vendors that disables cellular and WiFi but still allows Bluetooth. Instead flyers will have to turn off cellular and WiFi separately, keeping Bluetooth on. This is not the activation of flight mode.

This is going to get complex to state and enforce.

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