Certain air travelers in Europe will soon be free to use smartphones, tablets, e-readers and music players during all phases of flight. An announcement today from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) states that the organization will extend new guidelines by the end of this month, enabling the use of such devices during taxi, takeoff and landing as long as they're switched to "airplane mode," when applicable. Laptops must be stowed during those periods, just as they're required to be in the US. Curiously, the policy will specifically apply to European airlines -- it's not clear if carriers based overseas will be permitted to allow electronics' use while operating within Europe. The EASA also stated that it's researching methods for certifying phones for voice-call use, though we don't expect to see a ruling there for quite some time. Phone calls remain banned on US carriers, even though services like Gogo's Text & Talk utilize FAA-approved technologies.

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Europe to allow gate-to-gate electronics use by the end of November