Using phone in planes: is it really dangerous?

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“Please switch off all electronic devices”.

This is one announcement that you always hear when you are on an airplane, especially during takeoff and landing. Don’t feel you feel curious about why we have to do so? To answer this question, you have to first understand how airplanes work. In order to work out the path to your destination, there are electronic systems onboard the plane that helps the pilot to find its way. Portable electronic devices, one of which includes your handphone, emit an electromagnetic radiation that can interfere with the operations of the electronic systems onboard a plane and can pose a potential threat to everyone on the plane if the systems do not function properly.

So…can we really use our smartphone then? Well, here are some reasons why you can and cannot use your phone on flights.

Why you can use phones
Good news for those who cannot live without their smartphones: you can use your phones during a flight without posing any danger to others or yourself, but there’s a catch. If you wish to use your phone, you must first leave it on flight mode, which disables the cellular connection function from operating in order to prevent interferences to the plane’s electronic systems. The reason why you can use your electronic devices after the plane reaches a higher altitude is because of this: at higher altitudes, if the plane encounters any problems that require the plane to make an emergency landing, flying at higher altitude buys the pilot time to work out a solution to bring the plane to safety.

Why you should not use phones.
Before you rejoice about getting to use your phones on planes, here are additional pointers that you should take note of. Although using your phones is not prohibited on flights so long you leave it in flight mode, you should also remember that one reason why you have to do so is for your own safety. First of all, switching off your phones ensures that you give full attention during the safety announcements before the flight takes off. Secondly, the use of phones is a form of distraction and if you encounter any incidents such as a fire onboard a flight, it allows you to react in time and evacuate safely to prevent any tragedies from happening. With new technology being introduced enabling to make calls on flights, another reason why you should not use phones is out of consideration for others. Imagine you making a call and your conversation disturbing others and preventing them from getting rest.

So the next time you travel aboard on a plane, consider the reasons why you should or should not use your phone when on a plane. It’s also better to heed the advice of the in-flight announcement and to leave your electronic devices in flight mode. Better to be safe than sorry, eh?

Top Image: leungchopan / 

This article was first published on

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