Europe to OK Mobiles During Whole Flight

Europe looks poised to follow America’s lead to clear airline passengers to keep their mobiles on during flights.

The European Aviation Safety Agency said this week that it will recommend that any small electronic devices, including smartphones, tablets, mp3 players and e-readers, may be used throughout a flight as long as they are set to “Flight Mode” or “Airline Mode.” Passengers are told to stow and turn off such devices during landing, take off, and taxiing under the existing regulations. Laptops will still be required to be put away during such times under the new guidelines.

The new recommendations, expected by the end of this month, will apply to all European airlines. They follow a similar decision made by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in October.

At the same time, the European Commission cleared passengers flying in the EU for access to 3G and 4G (LTE) services, aka, big data (!), including say, downloading an eBook. Whether your flight offers such services will be up to the individual airline.

The European Aviation Safety Agency said it continues to consider the possibility of allowing mobile phone calls during flight.