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Mobile flight restrictions lifted

Europe's air safety agency has issued new guidelines allowing passengers to use portable electronics including mobile phones and tablet computers at any time during flights.

The Cologne-based European Aviation Safety Agency said that starting immediately, European-based airlines can, at their own discretion, allow passengers to leave electronics on for the entire flight, without putting them into "flight safe" mode.

However, airlines will need to certify their planes are not affected by transmission signals before allowing devices to be used.

Spokesman Ilias Maragakis said this is a step beyond what is allowed by the US Federal Aviation Administration, adding: "We're basically opening the door where, in theory, you'll be able to continue making your phone call through the gate throughout the flight ... like you would on a train."

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