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Picture the scene: you’re belted up and the plane is starting to move. You’re told to put your phone on airplane mode – but what if you decide not to?
It’s a question that’s cycled through the minds of smartphone addicts for years. Is it all a myth? Could you be missing out on some quality scrolling time? Will the plane fall out of the sky if you refuse to comply with the captain’s request?
Well, we’ve got an answer for you. A commercial airline pilot recently took to Reddit to answer people’s pressing questions about air travel – unsurprisingly, mobile phones came up.
Reddit user m1dlife-1derer asked Sneaky__Fox85 – who’s been flying since 2004, has two aviation degrees, is certified in helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, propeller planes and jets – what effect it really has on the plane if he didn’t turn airplane mode on.
The pilot responded:
It can cause interference with our radios, both audio and navigational. On rare occasions we’ll have a lot of static on the radio, we’ll stop and make the announcement to remind everyone their phone needs to be in airplane mode and that if that doesn’t solve the problem we’ll have to return to the gate for maintenance. Reeeeeaaally quick the interference goes away. Go figure.
You want your phone in airplane mode too. Once we climb above 5000 feet your phone isn’t gonna pick up any cell signal anyways so it’s just gonna spend the rest of the flight draining your battery searching for cell service.
There you have it. You’re not going to send the plane plummeting to the ground in a blaze of death, but you may cause quite a bit of annoyance in the cockpit (as well as wasting your own battery life).
The answer was praised by a number of users, with one writing: ‘Bless you for this no-BS answer. I had a literal panic attack about 10 years ago when the guy next to me refused to turn off his cell phone and I was convinced we were all going to die. I’m just happy to know that pilots know when there is a cell-phone interference issue and take steps to mitigate it.’
If you see someone still trying to use social media as the plane takes off, don’t panic. The only thing you should really be worried about is a problem with the left phalange.
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