EASA to approve electronic use during take-off and landing for UK and Europe

The European Aviation Safety Agency has announced that flight passengers in Europe and the UK can soon use smartphones, tablets, e-readers and other devices during all phases of flight.

Following in the footsteps of the US Federal Aviation Administration - which approved the use of most electronics during take-off and landing late last month - EASA has said it will publish new guidelines by the end of this month that will "extend to all phases of flight the possibility to use personal electronic devices" - as long as the devices are in Flight or Airplane mode.

Existing guidelines restrict the use of electronics during taxiing, take-off and landing, though that's about to change. As for the long term, EASA, which described itself as the centerpiece of the European Union's strategy for aviation safety, will look at new ways to certify mobile phones for making phone calls while on board aircraft.

"EASA recognises the wide proliferation of personal electronic devices and the wish of the travelling public to use them everywhere," said EASA in a press release. "The aim of the Agency is to ensure safe and harmonised use of PED on-board aircraft operated by European airlines."

READ: US FAA okays use of most electronics during take-off and landing

The FAA has a similar policy in place in the US: Cell phones must be in airplane mode or with cellular service disabled during take-off and landing. Previously, the FAA would not allow passengers on aircraft to use their devices - even in flight mode -under 10,000ft.