On and connected: New European flight safety guidelines allow use of electronics at all times

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

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

However, airlines will need to certify their planes aren't affected by transmission signals before allowing devices to be used.

Spokesman Ilias Maragakis says that's a step beyond what's allowed by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

Maragakis said: "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."