Tell us. Have you ever been in a situation where you’re on a plane, all tucked in and ready to fly, seatbelts fastened, tray tables and seats in the upright position, and you notice that your aisle neighbour has selfishly ignored the head attendant’s announcement to shut off their phones as the plane is about to take flight?
It just annoys you, doesn’t it?
It’s certainly a tale as old as time but with portable electronic devices (PED) now a highly common and accessible commodity, we feel that it’s fairly important to reiterate the importance of the airplane mode. The question then, why do you HAVE to switch your phone to airplane mode during flights?
The Simplest Answer is Often The Most Obvious
Most would assume that smartphones that aren’t on airplane mode would interfere with the plane’s onboard navigation systems — they would be right, to a certain extent. On the other hand, some may also think it boils down to the various rules and regulations set by the local aviation authorities — and they too would be correct. It essentially comes as a requirement that all airlines have to adhere to when entering or leaving a particular air space. And depending on the country or association responsible for monitoring its air space, each regulation may differ from one another. Some may be laxer, while others could be more stringent in onboard smartphone usage.
Though, the underlying truth to these strict rules and regulations is that there is always a reason for banning or reducing the use of active cellular phones (including making voice calls or data usage) on planes.
There has always been an implied implication that the radio frequencies emitted by these PEDs could pose a risk to cell tower networks on the ground as your phone may cause overcrowded networks by attempting to pick up service from multiple cell towers, even at 40,000 feet in the air.
What if You Forget To Switch To Airplane Mode?
In the event that you unintentionally forget to turn off or switch to airplane mode, the highly likely outcome then is that nothing happens. Yes, while phones have the potential to jumble signals, there really isn’t any concrete evidence that your phone’s cellular functions will sabotage the plane’s critical navigation systems.
That being said, there is always a non-negligible risk involved as airplanes are very complex machines — ones that can soar to amazing heights. Heights that could definitely prove fatal for everyone on board if something does happen mid-flight.
So tell us, as long as the probability isn’t zero, would you take a gamble on the lives of yourself and everyone on board by having your phone turned on?
Why Your Phone’s Airplane Mode Is Important To You As A Backpacker/Traveller
Apart from spending your time on a boring long haul flight playing idle games, your phone’s battery life would definitely benefit from using airplane mode during the flight.
If you aren’t on airplane mode as your plane takes flight, then your PEDs would likely make numerous attempts to scan and make connections with every cell tower on the ground that the plane passes above. Not only would this be a potential hazard for the plane’s communication and navigation systems, but your phone’s battery will likely be drained trying to constantly connect to a working network — effectively draining your phone’s power even before you start your journey.
If you’re a backpacker on a trip of a lifetime, we’re definitely sure that having a dead phone is not at all preferable. Just think of all the pictures and videos you won’t be able to share, just because you neglected to switch your phone to airplane mode.