By December, a new ruling from Europe’s Air Safety Agency could essentially allow electronic devices to be used at all points of flight.  Being warned to turn off your mobile phone may be a thing of the past.  The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has finally approved the use of electronic devices during take-off and landing on flights. However, guidance will be given on which devices can and cannot be used, by the end of this month.

Recently TechBeat reported the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved personal devices on airplanes such as tablet computers, eBook readers and portable games consoles. Mobile phones will also be allowed as long as phones are put in Airplane mode and cellular radios are disabled; however, laptop computers will still need to be stowed away during take-off and landing due to their size and the potential risk it puts people in should an emergency stop need to occur.

Europe Approves In-Flight Electronics Use

Patrick Ky, EASA executive director said, “This is a major step in the process of expanding the freedom to use personal electronic devices on-board aircraft without compromise in safety.”  Each airline will now have the choice to implement the use of electronic devices on an individual basis.  Any airline who would like to allow it will have to present a “safety case” to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the UK (similar to the FAA in the US).

A CAA spokesperson said, “The airlines now have access to new methodology for the safety testing of devices, which could be a relatively quick process, especially as some airlines are likely to have already done a fair bit of testing…We will have to wait and see what the nature of the guidance will be, so it is difficult to predict an accurate timescale, but it is possible that UK airlines could be permitted to allow the use of personal electronic devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight before Christmas this year.”

EASA is also looking to allow the use of mobile phones on flights without needing to put them in safety mode.  EASA stated in a press release, “[we] recognise the wide proliferation of personal electronic devices and the wish of the travelling public to use them everywhere.”

Iain Rawlinson, chief executive of Monarch Airlines stated: “We recognise that passengers travel with a wide range of electronic devices for both communication and entertainment purposes and, pending the outcome of industry testing and CAA approval, Monarch expects to undertake its own tests and implement changes to policies regarding in-flight usage of personal electronic devices.”

Pretty soon, we will be able to preoccupy ourselves during even the most unsettling of flight take-offs.

[Image via digitaltrends]