Phones and tablets get green light for use as planes take off

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is to publish new guidelines on gadgets being used on planes during take-off and landing.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
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Make sure your seatbelt is fastened, your setback is upright and tray table stowed away -- but your phone? It's A-OK to keep playing Angry Birds as the plane takes to the skies, according to new rules about the use of electronic devices during take-off and landing.

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has announced in a press release that it will this month publish new guidelines on the subject of devices such as phones, tablets, ebook readers and MP3 players being used on planes.

Laptops will still have to be stowed away, but that's due to their size rather than their electrical properties. 

European airlines could allow the use of phones and other gadgets in all phases of flight as soon as the end of this month, although the UK flight folks at the Civil Aviation Authority recently told us it "could be months" before we can use our gadgets throughout a flight.

Under the new European guidelines devices do still have to be in Airplane Mode, because of concerns that signals from Wi-Fi and mobile data might interfere with equipment. But the EASA is also investigating the possibility of allowing mobile phone use on flights without turning off the radio signals, which would make it a lot easier to tweet your frustration at EasyJet.

American flight watchdog the Federal Aviation Authority made a similar announcement last month, paving the way for you to continue to use your gadgets when you're in the air. Meanwhile British Airways has already lifted the mobile phone ban on landing.

Do you welcome phones on flights, or should gadgets be grounded? Taxi to the comments, or take flight to our Facebook page.