Why Phones Have to Be on Airplane Mode on a Flight

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“At this time your portable electronic devices
must be set to ‘airplane’ mode or switched off.” Anyone who has ever traveled by plane
has heard this phrase before. This seemingly simple command leaves us with the questions
“Why?” and “What will happen if I don’t?” Some of us, particularly the brave and rebellious
types, choose to leave our gadgets on because we just don’t understand how our small smartphone
can interfere with the operation of a huge jumbo jet.
We at Bright Side have decided to answer frequent traveler questions regarding gadgets on airplanes.
So, why do we have to turn off our phones for takeoff and landing? Get ready to find
out the answer to this inquiry and many others. Then, click the “thumbs up”, fasten your
seat belt and let’s go. You can even leave your electronic devices on at this time! 6. What is flight mode for?
Flight mode is more than a pretty airplane icon on your smartphone screen. In flight
mode, your gadget disables all data services (Wi-Fi, GSM, Bluetooth, etc.). Simply put,
your phone or tablet stops functioning as a radio receiver. If your smartphone has not
been switched to flight mode, then the signals emanating from it may interfere with the highly-sensitive
electronic equipment on the aircraft. 5. What if I just don’t use my phone?
When a smartphone is just locked and you’re not using it, it is still searching for a
network, and its frequency may overlap with the frequency of the aircraft’s systems.
Even if you think a “sleeping” gadget doesn’t pose a threat, switch it to flight mode anyway.
If your device happens to lack this function, just turn it off. 4. Why is my phone activity dangerous?
As you know, takeoff and landing are the most difficult and crucial stages of the flight
when pilots need to coordinate their actions with ground control. All this is done using
the aircraft’s navigation system. Think about it: if your cell phone signal is strong
enough to travel long distances, then it can definitely cause interference with an airplane’s
radio communications, and the pilot will not hear information transmitted by the air traffic
controller. It can also meddle with the navigation and flight-control equipment. All this might
lead to an emergency situation, and we don’t want that, right? Planes are scary enough
even when everything is going smoothly. Imagine if something really goes wrong! Pilots can
avoid disaster, but not the panic on board. It’s not just your phone sending out strong
signals. Laptops, Kindles, iPods and gaming consoles do it too. If something is wrong
with any of your gadgets that causes them to emit even stronger radio waves than they
normally do, the threat is even bigger. If there’s more than one disobedient passenger
on board, the signals from their gadgets combine and obviously get even more intense. 3. What will really happen if I leave my phone
on? It sounds pretty scary that a cellphone can
interfere with an airplane’s radio communication and cause a horrible tragedy, but how likely
is it in reality? What will happen if I just ignore the instructions and leave my phone
on? Well, chances are you’ll be kicked off the flight. This exact thing happened to Alec Baldwin,
who was so into playing his favorite online game on his smartphone that he wouldn’t
agree to turn it off. As a result, he was kicked off a flight from LA to New York. See?
Even the celebs aren’t immune to the rules! Maybe he found another way to travel 2 ½
thousand miles within 5 hours that didn’t require temporarily putting down his beloved
“Words With Friends” game? Probably not! Of course, not every rebellious passenger
is caught red-handed and punished. Public Radio International asked people to confess
their travel secrets, and it turns out that 4 out of 10 passengers in the US ignore the
warnings and leave their gadgets on while soaring through the clouds. Fortunately, no plane crash in history has
ever been a result of an active smartphone on board. However, the causes of such tragedies
often remain a mystery. In January 2017 NASA published a report on
“Passenger Electronic Devices”. Every year, crew members anonymously contribute
information to the US Aviation Safety Reporting System, and according to their reports, there
were at least 50 cases of electronic devices causing safety problems on board. One of these
safety problems was an error in the navigation equipment that caused a 30-degree deviation
in an airplane, which might not sound like a lot, but for an airplane, it’s a serious
problem. The problem was fixed when a passenger onboard the plane finally turned off his portable
DVD player, but when he switched the player back on, the same issue arose again! There
are other similar situations described in the report, none of which sound like any fun
at all! 2. Then what electronic devices can I use
on a plane? • Throughout the flight, you can use any
devices that don’t exchange data through GSM, Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth. For instance, electronic
watches (but not smartwatches), cameras, video cameras, voice recorders, hearing aids, pacemakers,
etc. Yes, you can even take pictures and videos on your phone given that it’s on airplane
mode and the airline doesn’t have its own policy that forbids it. They’ll definitely
let you know if that’s the case. • Devices with this data exchange function
may also be used at all stages of the flight, but only on flight mode. These include smartphones
and smartwatches, tablets, e-books, digital audio/video players, etc. You can also use
a laptop, but if it doesn’t have a flight mode option, turning off the Wi-Fi works just
as well. • You may turn off airplane mode only when
the aircraft is inflight (usually a few minutes after takeoff) and only after a message from
the flight crew tells you that you can. But then again, you won’t be able to do much
with your data when you’re thousands of feet from the ground, right? Please remember that these rules can change
depending on the airline. It’s a good idea to check the official website before your
flight. It’ll save you some trouble later on. You don’t want to be fighting with the
cabin crew just so you can read the electronic version of The Great Gatsby, do you? 1. How am I supposed to occupy myself during
the flight? If you can’t live without the Internet (or
at least you think can’t), there’s a solution for you kindly provided by many airlines today.
In-flight Wi-Fi doesn’t use cell towers to bring the world to you. It’s satellite-based
and therefore safe for the airplane’s external communications. It gives you access to your
email, social media and messengers. You can also surf the Net to keep up-to-date on the
latest news. You can’t text since it’s Wi-Fi only, but who really texts these days
anyway? One thing you should remember, though, is
that it’s not free. Prices vary depending on the airline and the device, but $10 is
normally enough to keep yourself on the grid during a flight if you prefer to pay for just
one trip. You can also get a 24-hour or even an annual pass. Good news for us! Airlines are now competing
to provide the fastest and best in-flight Wi-Fi. Australian airline Qantas, for example,
offers its passengers a connection strong enough to stream Netflix on board. And, of course, free Wi-Fi will be waiting
for you as you arrive safely to your destination. How to stay safe on one of those public networks
is the topic of another one of our videos. Here’s the link to it. To sum it all up: while a couple of working
phones won’t crash a plane, a cabin full of passengers actively using their gadgets
will interfere with the safety of the flight. Let’s appreciate the work of others and
not create unnecessary difficulties for pilots. After all, it only takes a second to put your
phone on flight mode. So sit back, relax and enjoy the flight! If you liked this video, let us know by hitting
the “thumbs up” button. If it gets 300,000 “likes”, we’ll post more videos answering
the most important questions of all travelers. Make sure to subscribe to our channel to be
the first to see all our cool updates. Remember to always look on the Bright Side of life!

 

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