This Is What Really Happens If You Don’t Put Your Phone in Flight Mode on a Plane

By Epoch Newsroom
Epoch Newsroom
Epoch Newsroom
May 16, 2016 Updated: May 17, 2016

You’re always told to turn off your phone or put it on “flight mode” before the plane takes off, but is it really a big deal to leave it on without putting it on that mode?

Turns out, there is a good reason to do so.

Nikita Schmidt, a private pilot, admits that the noise coming from a phone’s radio emissions are not actually “safety critical,” but can make a big difference.

“I actually heard such noise on the radio while flying. It is not safety critical, but is annoying for sure,” she said on Quora.

“Of course, there is plenty of attenuation between phones in the cabin and the pilots’ radio. However, if say 50 people on board are inconsiderate enough who can’t be bothered to switch their cell radio off, there will be 50 phones constantly looking for cell towers at maximum power. That is a lot of radio pollution.”

Or, as another user put it: 

“Imagine that noise in the pilot’s headphones, while he is receiving a critical bit of information from ground control. Imagine that noise, constantly, from the phones of over 100 passengers! Or worse yet, that noise interfering with some navigation signal that was sent so as to avoid a collision with another plane. Unlikely, but possible. Ask yourself: Do you really want to annoy the pilot charged with getting you safely to your destination?”

Epoch Newsroom
Epoch Newsroom