Why NOT Use Your Phone On A Plane

By Anne Smith  |  Updated February 22, 2017  |  Other | 



Don’t turn the phone OFF, turn the Airplane Mode ON

Airplane Mode is a useful feature that most of the portable electronic devices support nowadays. This mode has multiple benefits, and that’s why you should consider using airplane mode rather than turning off your smartphone, laptop, or tablet next time you board your flight. When airplane mode is on, it disables some hardware functions on the device such as the wireless transmission functions: device’s cellular radio, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.

So, after you turn the airplane mode on, you won’t be able to use GPS, mobile data, and you won’t receive any calls either. BUT, there’s always a bright side. Good thing is that your battery charges faster when airplane mode is on, meaning that you will get off the plane with a battery that’s still charged.


What does the Airplane Mode exactly do?   

The radio frequency that cell phones and other devices emit can easily interfere with the airplane’s systems and affect the navigation and communications equipment.

·         Wi-Fi: When you turn on airplane mode, it will make your phone stop scanning for other Wi-Fi networks that are located nearby. If you are already connected to a Wi-Fi network, it will automatically disconnect and it will search no more.

·         Cellular: When airplane mode is turned on, your device stops communicating with all cell towers, making you unable to send or receive anything connected to your mobile phone network (SMS messages, voice calls, etc.).

·         GPS: Relation between GPS and airplane mode is a bit more complicated. GPS is known as a “listener”, meaning it only listens to the GPS signals, without transmitting any. Regardless of that, some aircraft regulations still don’t allow the usage of GPS-receiving devices.

·         Bluetooth: Bluetooth allows devices to communicate wirelessly. It’s used for Bluetooth headsets, but it can be also used for mouse and keyboard extensions. Bluetooth is also disabled by airplane mode.


What are the consequences if we DON’T turn the airplane mode on?

Mobile phones consistently communicate with several cell towers, making our devices available all the time. If the towers are too far from the device, it has to boost its signals in order to communicate with the towers. Since an airplane’s navigation equipment is so sensitive, there’s a good chance that those two (mobiles searching for network and cell towers) could interfere and cause a huge problem. This is the reason why regulations in many countries prohibit the use of devices that transmit signals on commercial airliners.


Wi-Fi is allowed in some planes

Today, many airplanes offer in-flight Wi-Fi, but you must pay for it. Anyway, you can enable Wi-Fi only after enabling the airplane mode. That means that your mobile phone signal will be blocked, but the Wi-Fi will be working, letting you connect to to that in-flight Wi-Fi network.


What does it have to do with my battery?

Whether you’re on the airplane or on the ground, when you turn the airplane mode on, you save your device’s power. Radios are the ones that use most of your device’s power when scanning for networks, communicating with towers, etc. When you turn the airplane mode on, it disables all radio communication and saves your device a lot of power.


Do you use mobile phone when travelling by plane?

Do you have any fears when it comes to mobile usage on the plane?