“TURN THAT PHONE OFF!”- Why do we get told that on the airplane?


Awesome, I hate being unproductive and bored! Why can’t I just be allowed to text my girlfriend, mum, dad and next door neighbour whilst flying?! I’ve always wondered why are we not allowed to use our mobile phones whilst we are on the airplane. I never forget the last time I went on a plane, the air hostess can to me and said “Can you switch your device off, NOW!” with a serious under tone, I shivered.

I always thought that the issue of using mobile phones was that if you use a mobile device in the plane, the whole thing would blow up if you tried to call or text someone! Perhaps I read too many comics as a kid and have carried that wild imagination till this old age of mine, well I am only 20…

Only thing is, what is the likelihood of anyone getting signal when you are thousands of miles up in the sky, probably 1 in a million at such a high altitude. Fortunate thing is that a number of European airlines are allowing at their own discretion to allow passengers to leave electronics on throughout the entire flight, without putting them into Airplane Mode.Although this is good, airlines will need to make sure that their plane will not be affected by transmission signals.

Spokesman Ilias Maragakis said the plans are a step beyond what’s allowed by the US Federal Aviation Administration.

‘We’re basically opening the door where, in theory, you’ll be able to continue making your phone call through the gate throughout the flight, like you would on a train.’

British Airways, for example, currently has a business-class-only flight from London to New York that lets passengers use wi-fi and send texts. Shame really as most of us don’t travel on business, or am I speaking for myself only? 😉

But they block voice calls purely because whenever they survey passengers, most freeze at the idea of everyone around them talking on the phone during a flight, which even to me sounds annoying.

However other passengers in for example economy seating are not allowed to make voice calls, both other Wi-Fi and through their network, to avoid annoying other passengers. Not all phones can use wifi calling, but eventually we will get there.

Airlines still remain one of the last places work can’t get hold of you on the phone (If you are a person who’s regularly sick and like to be anonymous!) 😉

Since October 31, 2013 using  iPhone’s and tablets is allowed on flights within the U.S., provided they’re on airplane mode during taxi, takeoff, and landing which is completely fair unless you live outside the U.S. and it doesn’t apply to you 😦 .

Finally I would go onto say that when calls were banned 20 years ago, almost no one had a mobile phone; now, majority of passengers travel with multiple devices and they use them as replacements for everything from newspapers to airplane novels to seat back TV screens. For many shorter domestic routes, the phases of the flight during which it was previously forbidden to use devices added up to a significant portion of an entire trip. For business travelers, that’s lost productivity. For the rest of us, that was a lot of unnecessary boredom. Besides all of that I would say try and get a window seat to appreciate the view out of the window as it’s not something you get to see everyday! If you fear heights then you will just have to endure with a book or magazine, or even to go and sleep. Remember you will get there eventually.



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