Wait, what — the European Aviation Safety Agency is saying that electronic devices do not pose a safety risk?! Rejoice! This means that phones, tablets, ereaders, and laptops won't have to be turned off or switched to airplane mode during flight.
Last year, the US-based FAA loosened its policies on personal-device use during takeoff or landings. Their one stipulation? Cellular service must be disabled. Now, this new statement from the European Agency claims that airplane mode is no longer mandatory. "This is the latest regulatory step towards enabling the ability to offer 'gate-to-gate' telecommunication or WiFi services," said the EASA.
But there are two downsides: 1) this regulation applies only to European airlines, and the airlines themselves may not adopt this gadget-friendly policy; and 2) there is no service at 36,000 feet. Not yet, anyway.