EU OKs mobile phone use aboard European flights

Later this year passengers flying over Europe will be allowed to use their mobile phones as new rules come into play, according to an Associated Press report said. However, there is no immiment prospect of being able to do the same over the US.

The decision by the European Union makes the 27-nation bloc the first region in the world to scrap bans on the use of mobile phones in the sky, the report said. The EU insists the change will not compromise safety.

Mobile phone calls will be connected through an onboard base station linked to a satellite and then to ground networks. The flight's captain will be able to turn off the service anytime.

The Associated Press report quoted EU spokesman Martin Selmayr saying that the phone service will be blocked during takeoff and landing. EU officials also say the system has been thoroughly tested. They also say the calls will not interfere with flight navigation and will have additional safeguard to protect against terrorism.

Little notice seems to have been taken though of the intense irritation that mobile calls cause for fellow passsengers and the potential misery of sitting next to a chatterbox all the way from the west of Ireland to the east of Romania.