The European Aviation Safety Agency has said that gadgets can now be used during all phases of flight, including landing and takeoff (statistically the most dangerous moments of any flight). The EASA, like the FAA, still insists that devices must be in "aircraft mode" so that they don't emanate wireless signals. Ostensibly this is because they may interfere with an aircraft's own electronics, though the physics of this decision are pretty questionable. What's more likely is that by insisting flyers aren't surfing the web or making phone calls the authorities hope their attention is more on what's going on inside the aircraft in case there is an accident.
Considering the extent to which electronic devices have penetrated everyday life, this decision seems sensible. It will certainly put an end to the sort of rather petty disagreements that we've all had with flight crew at some points. And remember: iPads are fast becoming a pilot's best friend.
[Image: Flickr user Angelo DeSantis]