Welcome to the world of tomorrow: you can now use your mobile phone on an aeroplane, from gate to gate, start to finish. If you live in Europe, that is.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has permitted smartphones to be safe for use for the entire duration of flight, even at take-off and landing. In fact, the EASA actually decided upon that in November of 2013, but now it’s also decided that ‘Airplane Mode’ is no longer necessary.
Up until this point use of handsets was permitted during takeoff and landing so long as the device was in Airplane Mode, which cuts off all forms of signal emission and reception. This ruling seems to have confirmed what every passenger always suspected, though – that mobile devices don’t actually interfere with any of the plane’s equipment. The argument that people might not pay attention to the pre-flight checks is still a valid one, though, but apparently the EASA isn’t too concerned.
Ultimately the final decision on smartphone permissions rests with the airlines themselves, though. Whilst the EASA has permitted it, it’ll be the airline you’re flying with that decides when and in what capacity you can use your smartphone. Still, this is big news for anybody who’s missed out on the big match due to an ill-timed flight or had to cut short a vital game of Bejewelled.