back to article HALF of air passengers leave phones on ... yet STILL no DEATH PLUNGE

Almost half of UK flyers admit not bothering to switch their phones to flight mode (or off) while in the air, despite the dire warnings. While most just forget, the rest think they know better. The numbers come from holiday booking outfit, who asked almost 2,000 UK flyers about their mobile phone use and found …


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  1. Pete 2 Silver badge


    > 27 per cent said they couldn't cope without a switched-on phone and nine per cent said...

    It does appear that a significant proportion of the (presumably adult) sample regard their phones as a sort of good-luck charm, or talisman - in the same way that insecure children will cling on to their favourite object / toy / blanket to comfort themselves.

    I guess in the past, this role would have been fulfilled by a St. Christopher medal, prayer beads or some other quasi-religious artefact. And now those same, impressionable and insecure types just worship at the altar of Nokia, Samsung and Apple instead..

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Blanky

      >I guess in the past, this role would have been fulfilled by a St. Christopher medal, prayer beads or some other quasi-religious artefact.

      The most obvious pre-mobile comforter for the weak willed, impressionable and insecure types would have been a cigarette.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Blanky

        And gin.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Blanky

          This reminds me of a truly horrendous event when I had to visit the US with a boss who needed extensive sedation with alcohol before flying. Having misjudged the dosage, he became aggressive in security. He then had to endure the humiliation of only being allowed on the plane if I agreed to "look after him". This was basically a career no-win situation.

          About the only thing on which I agree with the Saudi government is banning alcohol from airports.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mobile security blanket ..

      > It does appear that a significant proportion of the (presumably adult) sample regard their phones as a sort of good-luck charm, or talisman - in the same way that insecure children will cling on to their favourite object / toy / blanket to comfort themselves ..

      There does seem to be a gendeer specific difference, as I see mostly women walking along the street clutching their mobile device in hand. The male of the species don't exhibit such behavor.

      1. HelenaHandcart

        Re: Mobile security blanket ..

        This is because men are more likely to have pockets suitable for a phone. Many women's clothes are made without pockets or with pockets wrongly placed/too small for a phone.

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  3. SuperTim

    Connecting from 10km up.

    That is not so much of a problem, as anyone in Kent will testify when they get French networks. The biggest problem that aircraft cellphone usage causes is that of "hand-off" between base stations on the ground. When you are flying at 500mph and all base stations below you give off a similar signal strength, the phone will hop around the network really fast. You don't normally travel that fast on the ground so it isn't as much of an issue, but if a planeful of people all start yacking at the same time, the network is likely to throw a bit of a wobbler.

    Until someone hijacks an aircraft with a cellphone and then they will be on the no-fly list, along with soft French cheese (as I found out recently).

    1. Ragarath

      Re: Connecting from 10km up.

      You may get French networks in Kent, but I am quite sure those networks are not directed into the sky. 10Km up for a directed signal is one hell of a fresnel zone!

      1. SuperTim

        Re: Connecting from 10km up.

        I will grant you that that up wasn't the direction that what was planned, but the cell sites do pick up phones in aircraft with no issue. The problem is that it isn't just one cell, its 10 or 12 and that's where the problem lies.

      2. No 3

        Re: Connecting from 10km up.

        Actually in more rural areas it's very common for cell sites to use pretty much just whip antennas (pretty close to omnidirectional), so it's entirely conceivable to make a connection.

        FWIW I've seen it work from 30,000 feet.


    2. Mtech25

      Re: Connecting from 10km up.

      Soft French Cheese, at last a sensible security precaution

      1. IsJustabloke

        Re: Connecting from 10km up.

        "Soft French Cheese, at last a sensible security precaution"

        Damn you.... I want to upvote you for making me laugh but I want to downvote you for your cheesist agenda!

  4. Tascam Holiday

    Never any danger

    This apparent danger has always been cobblers. If it was a serious risk then the airlines are putting their passengers' lives at risk by not confiscating all such devices on boarding. They don't let us on with guns, pneumatic drills or welding gear for obvious reasons but for these deadly electronic devices they're happy to stick with the honour system.

    1. FartingHippo

      Re: Never any danger

      Bingo. Have an upvote and a pint.

    2. Should b Working

      Re: Never any danger

      True, if it were placing us in immediate danger, do you think they would politely ask us to turn them off?

      That said, radio signals have been proven to interfere with some electronic equipment - would you really want to risk it at 30,000 feet?

      1. robin48gx

        Re: Never any danger

        Learn about EMC and testing and EN standards.

        Safety critical equipment is heavily tested for `radiated immunity' as they term it.

        1. Ragarath

          Re: Never any danger

          Or put another way stick a cage round it!

          1. Jedit

            "Or put another way stick a cage round it!"

            In case you're not joking: the body of an aeroplane *is* a Faraday cage.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "Or put another way stick a cage round it!"

              "In case you're not joking: the body of an aeroplane *is* a Faraday cage."

              OK, 2 points here. First of all, so what? The problems here are radio sources INSIDE the plane, so having the body be a faraday cage wouldn't do a damn thing. The instruments need to have (and presumably do have) cages directly around the instruments themselves.

              And secondly, the body is NOT a Faraday cage anyway, as is clearly shown by the fact that YOU CAN MAKE PHONE CALLS THROUGH IT. Moron.

              1. Anonymous Coward

                Re: "Or put another way stick a cage round it!"

                This is the problem. Complete idiots who can't even see common sense much less have advanced education in electronics or amateur radio think they know more than the CAA or other aviation bodies and aircraft manufacturers.

                I'm quite angry that there are no prosecutions for ignoring the clear instructions. On every EasyJet flight I hear them announce VERY CLEARLY no less than THREE separate times "all electronics must be switched off during take off and landing".

                Yet every time I request the passenger sitting to my right or in front of me to turn off their phone I get attitude - or a stalker who is determined to lecture me in manners.

                Ignorant, selfish, arrogant. That is the modern passenger. And I'm angry about it.

            2. Timmay

              Re: "Or put another way stick a cage round it!"

              Even these modern jets made mostly of composites?

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "Or put another way stick a cage round it!"

                Or those old jets with lots of glazed holes.

                I once designed a Faraday cage that really worked for an experiment. It is more difficult than you might think.

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Murply's Law

          "Safety critical equipment is heavily tested for `radiated immunity' as they term it."

          But do they test for every conceivable form of radio transmission? You know, making sure they don't miss that one perfect combination of device, frequency, and power that carries down the fly-by-wire system and makes a flight surface slide just enough to cause loss of control but not show up on the black boxes?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Never any danger

        More of a problem at a few hundred feet. In my view there have been several aicraft accidents in recent years where the aircraft did not make the runway, and where there was no evidence of a micro-burst pushing the aircraft downwards. The problem these days that is that are far too many smart arses out there who think they know more than highly qualified aviation people and with an anarchic attitude they risk causing others harm.

      3. Number6

        Re: Never any danger

        That said, radio signals have been proven to interfere with some electronic equipment - would you really want to risk it at 30,000 feet?

        GSM phones can interfere with electronics, anyone who's held their phone next to a hifi system or even computer speakers will have experience that. However, it's highly unlikely to happen, given all the testing required for flight systems. If it did happen, I'd be less worried at 30,000ft than 3,000ft because the flight crew will have that much more time to do something about it. That's the reason I always assumed the 10,000ft rule, same as for seatbelts etc. Once high enough, there's a bit more chance to react.

        As for flight safety, I'd say there's a huge risk to allowing mobiles to work in an aircraft, if you've got some brain-dead idiot yakking into his phone for the whole of a flight then there could be a riot when he finally irritates all those sitting nearby to the point that they snap.

        "You may use your mobile on this flight, but as a courtesy to other passengers, please step outside to use it".

        I always put my phone into flight mode, it saves the battery so it'll be working ten hours later when I get off the flight. If I'm planning to sleep then I might even turn it off.

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Never any danger

      It did always strike me as rather odd that such a clear and present danger to the aircraft was on the honour system.

      Perhaps airlines in Texas should announce, please keep the safety catch on your assault rifle while the seatbelt sign is illuminated

    4. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Never any danger

      It is fairly impossible to find an air accident caused by a cell phone, still I switch my off, as you newer know what kind of new electronics are added by Boeing and Airbus in new models. Then again cell phones among passengers have been very helpful in highjacking events, if you think hard.

  5. Should b Working

    Not just radio signal safety

    I've had it explained to me that the reason they ask us to switch off the phones especially during take off and landing is these are the times that the plane is most likely to crash - and therefore, the full undivided attention of everyone on the plane is required in case of an emergency exit.

    The fact that there will always be some moron who thinks it is more important to call their mum rather than listen to the cabin crew and get-the-hell-off-the-plane is precisely why they need rules like this.

    Secondly, there are electronic components that are impacted by radio signals, and a "my plane didn't crash and I left my phone on" isn't a valid argument for the removal of those rules. Lack of an expected outcome is not elimination of causation .

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Not just radio signal safety

      Years ago I was in a small 12 passenger plane crash in Alaska. It was really more of a terrible landing, but the nose gear broke off, lots of sparks, very loud and incredibly violent.

      I can assure you everyone's attention was extremely focused on the plane crash at hand. I doubt anyone would stay focused on Candy Crush after just falling out of the sky. You just want to get out as fast as possible.

      1. Should b Working
        Thumb Up

        Re: Not just radio signal safety

        @Don Jefe

        Good point, and glad you're ok.

        - but never underestimate the capacity for stupidity from one or two individuals in a large group.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not just radio signal safety

        12 passenger plane != 300 passenger plane. Just look at what happened in the Asiana flight case in San Francisco recently. Passengers left WITH THEIR HAND LUGGAGE despite safety briefings saying YOU SHOULD LEAVE IT BEHIND! And look what happened to the plane, the front half burnt out., how many passengers could've been killed if it had gone up in flames faster? So, yes, you WILL find idiots on planes doing idiotic things EVEN WHILE A PLANE CRASHES (like videoing the landing - as was the case with the LOT 767 in Warsaw).

        Add to that the fact that any airline flying into US airspace is beholden to FAA regulations. The FAA has some regulations on paper that technically have not been applicable for a decade at least, yet airlines with very modern airliners who do not suffer from things like interference still have to comply with FAA regs if they want to continue to fly to the US. Thankfully, FAA has finally cottoned on and has drafted a report on usage of mobile devices below 10,000 ft, which makes several positive recommendations. Whether US airlines specifically will adopt the loosening of the rules is another question altogether.

        CAA in the UK has cleared the use of phones on the ground (during taxi after landing), so anyone LANDING in the UK will be ok provided the airline has adopted the CAA regulation in question (BA is currently the only one - they pushed the CAA on that one).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not just radio signal safety

          @SP I do see your point, but for myself my hand luggage usually contains my passport, my wallet and my phone none of which I would be inclined to abandon lightly if I were still conscious. Passport most especially. Even after a crash turning up a a border with no passport would likely unleash several metric shit tonnes of trouble.

          1. tfewster Silver badge

            Re: Not just radio signal safety

            Not a problem mate - Years ago, I had my camera bag (with my ticket & passport in it) nicked shortly before boarding a ferry from Spain to the UK. I explained the situation to the ferry company and Spanish authorities, and they let me on. UK passport control was similarly understanding, with some basic verification). With modern passenger lists, I'd be confident of stepping up and saying - "I'm <tfewster>, and you know I boarded the plane that just crash-landed - so there's no problem, is there?"

            But yeah, phone & wallet (in that order these days) are an inseparable part of me

          2. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Not just radio signal safety

            For some people, important hard-to-replace things may be carried out of instinct, such as (as noted) passports and other forms of ID as well as medical supplies (prescription pills, insulin, etc.) and other things that may be difficult to resupply if lost and/or may be needed immediately upon landing.

    2. Anonymous Coward 101

      Re: Not just radio signal safety

      "I've had it explained to me that the reason they ask us to switch off the phones especially during take off and landing is these are the times that the plane is most likely to crash - and therefore, the full undivided attention of everyone on the plane is required in case of an emergency exit."

      If that is true, why are we allowed to use phones on 'flight mode' at all? And why are people allowed to read books and magazines when the plane is taking off or landing, or converse with others? Surely these are also things that could prevent people from giving the cabin crew their undivided attention?

      1. Should b Working

        Re: Not just radio signal safety

        @Anonymous Coward 101

        Have you flown? They ALWAYS wake people up before landing. As for books and magazines, they can't talk back - so their distraction level is a magnitude lower than a phone.

        1. Robert E A Harvey

          Re: Not just radio signal safety

          @ Should b Working

          I fly once or twice a week, and regularly sleep right through the Humberside-Schiphol hop And quite often the Schiphol - Hong Kong or -beijing long haul. I have never been woken up before landing, so long as my seat back is upright and my tray table stowed.

      2. Andy Hards

        Re: Not just radio signal safety

        The announcement at the airline where I work asks people to turn their phones completely off from when the doors close until the plane is in the air. This is so that people pay attention to the potentially life saving information of the safety announcement and in case of an emergency during one of the critical stages of flight. Many people don't listen to any of the announcements, as evidenced by the same questions being asked again and again but if they could just stop playing Angry Birds and typing just one more text then it may save their life in case of a fire or an emergency evacuation of some kind.

        I put it to one of the pilots recently that it wasn't a big deal and he replied that they get lots of ghost readings and some could well be attributed to phones and as he is the one flying the thing I was not going to call bull shit. Can people really not go 10 minutes or so without playing with their phones?

        Some people just don't like to be told what to do ever. They know best and they are the customer so therefore they can do what they like. Until the plane returns to the stand and they are escorted off by the police. Suddenly everyone else decides that it wasn't such an important game of Candy Crush after all.

    3. xyz

      Re: Not just radio signal safety's for the muppet who thinks his ringtone of "Pull up, pull up" is really cool.

    4. Robert E A Harvey
      Thumb Down

      Re: Not just radio signal safety

      >the full undivided attention of everyone on the plane is

      >required in case of an emergency exit.

      So why is it that they are keen to get people to take the earphones out, but they never ever wake up someone who is fast asleep and ask them to pay attention during the landing?

      1. ChaosFreak

        Re: Not just radio signal safety

        Hehe, yeah... I was once yelled at to shut up during the safety briefing by a Qantas sky nazi... I was translating the safety briefing for my Japanese clients.

    5. Bear Features

      Re: Not just radio signal safety

      I'm sorry but what are you talking about?

      1. If they were THAT interested in passenger "undivided" attention they'd also comment about reading magazines and books and whatever else. Or are you suggesting that there are different levels of attention and it's OK to ignore if you're reading a book?

      2. We are post 9/11. You have to jump through hoops to get on a plane now. One guys tries to blow up a plane with a shoe, we ALL have to remove shoes with heels through security before getting on a plane. But no serious checks with phones? I work at Gatwick and as a pilot once said to me, if there was any chance, whatsoever, that a phone could bring down a plane, he'd not be a pilot.

      There has never been any evidence to show how these magic and mysterious signals can have any negative impact on flight systems. Because, obviously, if there was any evidence, along with the security checks due to terrorism and safety - we'd have very different rules and you'd either not be able to fly with your phone, or they'd have a hand-in system where you collect after landing.

      1. Goldmember

        Re: Not just radio signal safety

        "There has never been any evidence to show how these magic and mysterious signals can have any negative impact on flight systems"

        That's a completely irrelevant point. If an airline asks you to switch off your phone citing safety, whatever their motives, you damn well do it. If they ask you to switch off your phone and don't provide a reason, you damn well do it anyway. Count yourself lucky you don't flout the rules and use your phone on Chinese planes, as you could end up being arrested on landing:

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not just radio signal safety

        @Bear Features, they generally do.

        The announcement for the safety briefing usually says "please give this briefing your undivided attention", not "please give this briefing your undivided attention unless you read a newspaper or a magazine".

        The implication is that you PUT DOWN whatever you're reading/watching/listening to and listen to the briefing. But people are people and wipe their arses on that request because they believe they're smarter than some 'airhead airhostess going through the motions'. Until their plane crashes and burns that is, and they have a nervous collapse and wibble in their seat until said 'airhead airhostess' drags them to the exit and punts them down the slide (yes it's happened before).

        Just FYI - Flight crew primary directive is NOT to ask if you'd like tea or coffee. Their primary directive is your safety as set down by their aviation authority and the airline you're flying with.

        1. Annihilator
          Thumb Down

          Re: Not just radio signal safety

          "The announcement for the safety briefing usually says "please give this briefing your undivided attention", not "please give this briefing your undivided attention unless you read a newspaper or a magazine"."

          Yes... but the point was that they don't prevent you reading during take-off or landing. Besides, watching the safety briefing is hardly likely to prevent people having a nervous collapse or wibble in their seat after a plane crash, up to 12 hours after watching the safety briefing. For instance, putting a life-jacket on will take some concentration - having seen someone do that once is hardly likely to help you figure it out, let alone in a high stress/smoky env. Equally when trying to find the nearest usable exit, your eyes will take precedence and you'll go for the one in front of you, regardless of if there's a closer one behind you.

        2. matt747

          Re: Not just radio signal safety

          don't you mean cabin crew not flight crew?

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not just radio signal safety


          I went through a phase of flying a few times a month for work. Every airline I flew with always wandered round asking people with headphones on to take them out and people with books etrc to put them down during the safety spiel.

          Yes you can ignore them but in my experience of many airlines they all at least do ask you (personally) once to listen/put the kindle down/take the headphones out. They can't force you, but do at least try.

          They always ask me, and when I once (when tired/grumpy) pointed out I flew this exact route on this exact airline 5 times this month so far a stewardess (very politely) said "if we allow you to ignore us it just encourages others who may not have heard all this to do so". Which made sense to me even in my bleary-eyed, missing cottage pie, state.

        4. Stuart Dole

          Re: Not just radio signal safety

          @SP - the Asiana crash in SFO knocked open the overhead bins - carry-on luggage came raining down on everyone. I'd wager that if someone recognized their own rolly in the rubble, it'd be a service to everyone else to pick it up and carry it out, clearing the aisle a bit.

          Also, the "professional crew" at the controls couldn't cope with a visual approach and landing, on a bright sunny day.

          I fly into ABQ (Albuquerque, New Mexico) a good bit. The airport is quite high - around 7,000 ft (~2,100 m), so you hit the magic 10,000 ft point a lot sooner on takeoff and can start using your "devices" (and on approach you can use them a lot longer). They apparently only care about altitude from sea level, not height above the ground. It sort of feels like as soon as the wheels are up you're good to go. Curious...

      3. Andy Hards

        Re: Not just radio signal safety

        The announcement ask you to 'stop reading and suspend any conversations for the few shorts moments while the safety demonstration takes place'.

    6. Ceaus

      Re: Not just radio signal safety

      There was a news program/documentary the other day, hosted by a retired airline captain. And he said this whole thing is just a liability issue. He said there were no technical reasons why we couldn't use phones aboard. The point is the aircraft are certified by the FAA (?) in a certain configuration. Every use outside the parameters induces a liability risk on the individual airline.

    7. ChaosFreak

      Re: Not just radio signal safety

      Sure, "my plane didn't crash" is an anecdote. And as we all know the plural of anecdote is not data.

      However, there are roughly 30,000 aircraft operations per day in the world. Cellphones have been ubiquitous for at least 15 years. We KNOW that not everyone shuts down their phones in flight. Yet airline safety is at an all time high. No plane has every crashed due to cell phones. And crashes from all causes are at historic lows.

      While not strictly a controlled study, the evidence is overwhelming.

      If you want to be safe, turn off your cell phone while DRIVING, and don't worry about it while flying.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I took a wideband RF meter onto plane years ago and after the order to turn mobils off took some readings. The plane was full of radio signals in the GSM bands.

    1. FartingHippo

      You sound in dire need of a smart phone to give you more interesting things to do :)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    27 per cent said they couldn't cope without a switched-on phone

    May I humbly suggest that those people are in dire need of medical help.

    They are obviously addicted to the beasts.

    Perhaps we need airlines to have special 'Quiet' flights for those of us who just want to chill out while flying and think that NOT being in contact is a wonderful thing. I make it a point to never work while flying. If I'm traveling with someone I won't even talk about work whilst in the air.

    Do I fly regularly? Yes I do, actually a heck of a lot. I'm a BA Silver member, and 90% of the time I can be found at the back of the plane in Cattle Class.

    1. muddysteve

      Re: 27 per cent said they couldn't cope without a switched-on phone

      I was chatting to a fellow traveller once, and described our seats as Cattle Class. He replied that even cattle would be treated better than us, and that we were really self-loading luggage. I liked that one.

      1. MrXavia
        Thumb Up

        Re: 27 per cent said they couldn't cope without a switched-on phone

        I sometimes thing my luggage is treated better that I am in economy...

        But it is very true, cattle would be treated better, hence I avoid flying economy where possible..

        1. Darryl

          Re: 27 per cent said they couldn't cope without a switched-on phone

          we call it 'steerage'

  8. Arachnoid

    full undivided attention of everyone on the plane is required

    Apart from those playing Nintendo like games, listening to MP3 players or a video on there ipad I assume you mean.The exclusion of the use of mobile phones whilst it has good intentions is totally overboard and outdated given modern technology and the lack of proof to the contrary.

    1. Geoff Campbell

      Re: full undivided attention of everyone on the plane is required

      I'm guessing you don't fly much. The request is that *all* electronic devices are turned off during take-off and landing - see for example the many news stories a while back about flight staff not understanding that Kindles display an image on the screen even when turned off.


      1. NigelD

        Re: full undivided attention of everyone on the plane is required

        I've never seen the flight staff switch off there digital watches.

      2. jonfr

        Re: full undivided attention of everyone on the plane is required

        Yes. There is just one issue with this, the airplane is full of electronics. Now many even have LCD screens that make a lot of radio noise on there own, in the power range of 0.1mW and up to 0.5mW at low frequencies. They are all turned on during takeoff and landing.

        The only reason to turn of the phones in a airplane is to save battery, or at least use the flight mode to save the battery and prevent random connections with mobile transmitters on the ground.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: full undivided attention of everyone on the plane is required

          "Yes. There is just one issue with this, the airplane is full of electronics. Now many even have LCD screens that make a lot of radio noise on there own, in the power range of 0.1mW and up to 0.5mW at low frequencies. They are all turned on during takeoff and landing."

          THOSE were tested by the FAA and FCC prior to them being allowed on aircraft. All of them have had their radiation checked to make sure they don't interfere with aircraft electronics, and each new one installed has to be tested for the same thing.

          Technically, for ANY electronic device (and even devices not designed to transmit WILL transmit, see Title 47 CFR Part 15) to be useable on an aircraft, it has to be subject to the same stress tests. However, cell phones and other consumer electronics have such high churn that as soon as a device is tested, its successor is on the market, which will now need to be tested itself, ad nauseum. And all carriers flying in the US MUST submit to them in order to operate in the US. And the FAA has the power to make demands of these carriers (that's how Airworthiness Directives work). See the problem?

    2. Don Dumb

      Re: full undivided attention of everyone on the plane is required

      So that's why the Easyjet cabin crew specifically told me to unplug from my ears and put away my 2nd gen iPod Nano (no bluetooth, Wifi or GSM) before we taxied to takeoff? I even replied that it didn't broadcast any signals but the reply was clearly "all electronic devices" and I felt a bit stupid for not listening to the announcement properly in the first place. Just because some airlines are lax in enforcing the rules doesn't mean that mobile phones are a special case.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: full undivided attention of everyone on the plane is required

        What is a micro-processor? What frequencies does it run at? 1GHz? 3GHz? These are radio frequencies. With tiny wavelengths. That radiate from the circuit board despite best efforts. And what if you have a Chinese knock-off without any shielding?

        Doesn't have to explicitly be a purpose-build radio transmitter to transmit radio signals.

  9. RonWheeler

    Tickbox safety meets money

    Started off years ago as reasonable doubt about safety. Years later I think it is reasonably safe to say it isn't dangerous or we'd know about it. Now the airlines just see it as a way to potentially generate revenue.

    Having said that, normal rules of public manners (no yakking loudly on phone in public) still apply.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only a matter of time

    A phone without a base station is probably transmitting at full power, so it will interfere with electronics and harming peoples cells/DNA, so detectors should be on a plane, and these people should be finned and banned from planes; a class action suit would be a possibility too! This is no different from people polluting an area and getting prosecuted.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Only a matter of time


    2. Don Jefe

      Re: Only a matter of time


      You do realize the radio and instrumentation used by the plane emit more radiation than all the mobile gadgets on the plane combined?

    3. voice of unreason

      Re: Only a matter of time

      No, a phone without a base station transmits at ZERO power. It LISTENS for the cell search, it obviously couldn't transmit into the correct slot without knowing every 10 ms what the transmit plan and timing is....

      But, as people said before, planes flying relatively low ( a few 1000m but rarely cruise altitude) can lock onto ground cells. E.g. The pentagon- bound plane on 9/11. High power ( which will realistically not cause enough emc to be an issue).

      But multiple fast handover could mess up the ground networks.

      1. alain williams Silver badge

        Re: Only a matter of time

        ''No, a phone without a base station transmits at ZERO power. It LISTENS for the cell search, ...''

        But it probably needs to reply to any base station at high power as it is a long way away.

        The best way of reducing transmitted power could be for every plane to have a set of dummy base stations that the 'phones could lock on to, and being close would not need to transmit at high power. Because everything is low power it should not interfere with the real base stations outside of the airplane. Several would be needed for the various networks that the 'phones are subscribed to.

        A workable idea or complete cobblers ?

        1. voice of unreason

          Re: Only a matter of time

          Yes, perfectly workable and sensible. Inmarsat Aero now has a femtocell solution. Used aboard several airlines. That way one can make calls, with back haul over satellite.

          Ironic.....the best way to prevent dangerous emission of RF power is to provide the system to make calls on your mobile.

        2. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Only a matter of time

          "A workable idea or complete cobblers ?"

          Somewhat cobblers because there are so many frequencies in use, not just in the US but worldwide (think foreign visitors). A dummy station would have to operate at all those frequencies, and some of them could actually interfere with the in-flight electronics unless thoroughly tested, which could itself present problems.

      2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Only a matter of time

        My old phone was in my bag in the overhead locker. I'd switched it off before boarding but somehow it got switched on. I flew from LHR to Dubai.

        When I looked at the phone on landing there were 'Welcome to xxx' network from countries all along the route.

        The battery was almost flat as well yet had been fully charged when I left home.

    4. JulianB

      Re: Only a matter of time

      Well, if the radiation interferes with their DNA so much that they grow fins, I guess that's punishment enough in itself...

    5. hplasm Silver badge

      Re: Only a matter of time

      "...these people should be finned and banned from planes..."

      Surely finned people would be using boats anyway?

  11. jake Silver badge

    Mythbusters ...

    ... have properly debunked many Cell Phone myths. Including this one.


    1. Don Dumb

      Re: Mythbusters ...

      A Mythbusters report - Well that's all the evidence the Aviation Authorities need, job done.

      Because there's no danger of a sodding TV programme that has the name 'Myth*busters*' rather than 'Myth-investigators' (kind of set up their results in the name haven't they) doing a poor scientific investigation. It may be a good program, it may not, but this isn't a 'myth' it is the risk position of aviation authorities who for some crazy reason are just a little bit risk averse.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Re: Mythbusters ...

      As a bunch of Hollywood special effects specialists I would hardly regard them as the leading experts in the field of radio communications. I sincerely doubt either of them has ever held an amateur radio licence.

      Using Mythbusters as your justification is like citing Judge Judy when giving your opinion of the law.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Mythbusters ...

        Except being in the "loop" in California and with the assistance of Discovery Networks and Beyond Productions, they can and do enlist the proper experts in their field, and in the case of the cell phone interference myth did contact pilots, airport authorities, and electronic manufacturers for their input. While their result may not be exactly authoritative, it's better than anything we've seen to date involving consumer electronics to date unless you can cite something better that accounts for the rapid churn of consumer electronics and the wide age range of aircraft in operation.

  12. Magister

    Safety; what safety?

    As a general rule, about a quarter of the passengers on any given flight pay no attention at all to the safety demos. These people simply cannot envisage that anything could possibly go wrong; but they are usually the first to start squealing when anything untoward happens.

    One twerp on a flight to north of the border had unbuckled his safety belt before the actual touch down and was busy getting his stuff out of the overhead locker all the way to the stand by the terminal depsite several messages form cabin staff asking everyone to remain in their seats. He then rushed to the door and was stood whining that they wouldn't let him out before the ground crew had positioned the steps.

    He didn't really get to passport check any faster than anyone else (maybe 15 seconds) and was starting the get arsey with the staff there. All the time, ear glued to the mobile, moaning loudly about the f****** morons that wouldn't let him go through.

    The best bit was when he slung his passport (still in it's case) at the guy on the counter. he called over a copper and the guy ended up being escorted through to a little room; didn't see him after that.

    I hope that they gave him a full body cavity search!

    1. Nick L

      Re: Safety; what safety?

      Someone tried that (getting up, sorting out luggage) on a flight to copenhagen I was on, after the pilot announced "crew, seats for landing" and the whole crew was seated.. Stewards informed the chap to sit down. He didn't. Pilot came on the intercom telling them to sit down otherwise there would be serious consequences. He still didn't sit down.

      The pilot aborted the landing as a result, and armed police were waiting to escort the person off the flight upon landing. He did get off the plane first, so perhaps a small victory, however he was also automatically banned from flying with that airline for life and the staff believed he would be prosecuted too. The pilot was rather keen to explain exactly how much an aborted landing costs, and I daresay the airline would be pushing to recover those.

      So not a good idea. Relevance to mobile discussion? Not a lot, other than to say there's some things pilots care about, and it would seem from the cacophony of SMS alerts and mail alerts upon landing that turning phones off is not one of them.

      1. Ian Emery Silver badge

        Re: Safety; what safety?

        Be very careful on a Chinese flight, if you get up too quickly you may be stampeded to death, as they all jump up and rush to the exit as soon as the wheels hit the tarmac.

        They then RUN through the tunnel to get to passport control!!!!

        (Seen it many, many times).

        Mine is staying in the overhead locker until the stampede has finished.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Andy Hards

      Re: Safety; what safety?

      I had a similar passenger once who was really rude, did the same as you said with seat belt and baggage and then a few minutes after he left I found his passport in the seat pocket.

  13. Don Jefe

    Delta Flights

    On some Delta flights there is a device that displays how many wireless devices are broadcasting and how many are connected. I was watching one just last week and the Sky Waiter turned it off just before the safety briefing and it also turned off the planes onboard WiFi until we were above 10,000ft.

    If they're offering inflight WiFi it is a damn sure bet that GSM et al signals do not interfere with the planes systems. You couldn't count on people turning off their mobile connection and leaving just their WiFi radio enabled. That's too complicated for a lot of the self loading cargo.

  14. Arachnoid


    Given most larger planes are virtual faraday cages its unlikely any signals can enter or exit the cabin without assistance from the onboard wifi etc

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Faraday

      Everything works fine when the plane is sitting on the runway... Just sayin'.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Faraday

      I have made phone calls from military planes (mechanic not pilot) no issues. I tend to put it in airplane mode most of the time to save battery from tower switching but they work just fine even at 30,000 ft.

  15. AlanS


    Last time I flew from Goa I forgot to switch my phone off, and arrived at Heathrow to a text saying "Welcome to Vodafone Turkey"!

    1. Shrimpling

      Re: Vodafone

      My Mum got Welcome to Afghanistan text message while flying back from Goa...

      I think she would have preferred not knowing where they were flying!

  16. Bod

    It's not about safety, it's about annoyance

    The systems aren't going to crash with mobile signals about, but the comms systems can get interference. Probably not so that the crew cannot hear anything, but enough to make them pissed off.

    They do know about phones switched on. I've been on a few flights where they have announced that they are not moving until whoever it is switches off their phone. On one they even somehow tied it down to a section of the cabin where they knew it was and started opening the overhead bins to turn the thing off. I've no idea how they managed to pinpoint the location though.

    Internal US flights yes often have wifi. Though it's on a different band and I wonder if they shield the cabin so signals aren't going to get onto the deck. Seems a bit advanced, but maybe possible.

    The main reason I see for sticking your phone on flight or turning it off personally is it's pointless having it sat in high power mode struggling to find a signal and draining the battery. Then again if everyone else did that at least they'd have a dead phone on landing and I wouldn't have to listen to hundreds of phones receiving "welcome to the country" text messages and them phoning their friends/family/taxi-driver. It's not going to make a difference if you call them 1ms after landing given you'll be sat in bag reclaim for the next hour (or if Heathrow, more than that including time to fill in the lost luggage forms).

    1. Andy Hards

      Re: It's not about safety, it's about annoyance

      On some planes I have worked on the overhead screens would retract into the ceiling if there was a phone on in the immediate vicinity. People would complain that they couldn't see the movie and I'd explain why, then a few minutes later someone would sheepishly turn off their phone and it would work fine.

  17. Piro

    I basically always do to save battery

    But that's about it. If the plane was about to crash just because somebody kept their phone on, you'd think they'd take phones off people like they would if you had a knife or a gun. All pure codswallop.

  18. Cuddles Silver badge

    And this is why I hate people...

    "Seventy-eight per cent of those questioned said they turn their phone back on before disembarking the plane"

    You've just spent several hours on plane and you have at least another half hour waiting to pick up luggage and all that shit. What is so incredibly important that you can't wait 5 fucking minutes for the plane to actually park? I don't care that it's probably safe to do so, anyone who's such an impatient twat deserves to get booted off the plane before it's stopped as well.

    As for safety, there have been indications that certain specific combinations of handsets can cause noticeable interference on some aircraft systems, usually involving beating between handsets from countries that use different frequencies. I'm not aware of any evidence that they've actually cause any problems in the real world, but people dismissing the idea that there could be any problem out of hand are just plain wrong. Sure, the aircraft itself produces more stray radiation. And it's specifically designed and tested to make sure it's safe. What can't be tested is every possible combination of external radiation sources. As it turns out, the evidence now suggests that it probably is safe to have phones on board, but the worry that it might not have been was perfectly reasonable, especially given the potential consequences. Worries about other electronic equipment which emit orders of magnitude less power, on the other hand, have always been pretty silly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And this is why I hate people...

      Well I can't see the safety issue on the ground... and there is often a valid reason to turn the phone on, let your taxi/parent/lift/driver know you've arrived safely and to meet you at the gate........

      And 5 minutes? where have you been landing, in my experience it is around 20 minutes to half an hour from landing to disembarking.... but then again I usually only fly for long haul....

      Surely though the best thing is for the planes to be designed to deal with interference... test them with a phone turned on in every seat... or in the overhead compartments as that is basically what will end up happening...

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: And this is why I hate people...

        Many planes in operation (especially long haulers like the 747) were built before or just after cell phones were invented: in an age when they couldn't have conceived of that kind of interference testing.

  19. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    @ Alan S

    Similar to you, I flew back from a diving trip in Egypt a few years ago and when I took my phone out of my rucsack had network welcome texts from:







  20. jason 7

    It's not the guy with the phone I worry about on a flight.

    It's the really clinically obese guy or woman five rows in front of me between my seat and the emergency exit.

    No way is that person gonna shift with any speed.


    1. Dramoth

      Re: It's not the guy with the phone I worry about on a flight.

      Dont worry about that, kick em in the back of the knee so that they fall over and hurdle them...

      It's the morbidly obese ones who sit in the ailse seat in the same row as me thats blocking me from getting out of the plane quickly that is the person I am worrying about...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's not the guy with the phone I worry about on a flight. @Dramoth

        "It's the morbidly obese ones who sit in the ailse seat in the same row as me thats blocking me from getting out of the plane quickly that is the person I am worrying about..."

        Best way to minimise that risk is to avoid flights to places holding Star Wars/Star Trek/IT conventions :)

  21. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Why bother?

    Most of the people switching their phones off only put them into sleep mode anyway - watch them start making calls the second the plane lands without rebooting the phones.

  22. Joe Harrison

    Your phone works on electricity

    It's not about radio interference.

    If something goes wrong and you're in a crashed plane on the tarmac then you will likely have swimming-pool sized amounts of jet fuel sloshing about. In these circumstances you don't want lots of broken electrical gadgets sparking the place up.

    1. nedge2k

      Re: Your phone works on electricity

      which is bull because jet fuel is basically diesel and does not ignite from a spark unless it's atomised.

    2. Don Jefe

      Re: Your phone works on electricity

      The crashing multi-ton metal airplane sliding across the tarmac makes plenty of sparks by itself. A few from your phone isn't going to matter one jot.

  23. SJG

    Bluetooth Watches

    I just wonder how long it will take before we're being asked to switch off our watches too.

    I have a Pebble watch that I packed in my checked-in baggage. When I switched on my phone after landing my phone immediately connected to my Pebble still in the hold. Ooops. Impressive bluetooth range of the pebble though :)

  24. Annihilator

    Lies, damn lies and statistics

    "Seventy-eight per cent of those questioned said they turn their phone back on before disembarking the plane ... Fifty-six per cent don't bother turning off their phone during takeoff and landing"

    Who are the 22% of berks who switch their phone on, having not turned it off in the first place?

  25. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. RonWheeler

      Re: You don't have to turn you phone off

      There are lots of rules in the world that are just stupid, and people rightly ignore them precisely because they are stupid.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: You don't have to turn you phone off

        I upvoted you, but I'm going to point out to your downvoters that these same 'stupid rules' may have been ncecessarily correct 30 years ago.

        1. Pete 2 Silver badge

          Re: You don't have to turn you phone off

          > these same 'stupid rules' may have been ncecessarily correct 30 years ago

          Possibly (though it's more likely that a 1980's mobile phone's battery would have caught fire than the R.F. would cause interference). The problem with stupid rules that everyone ignores is that they are indistinguishable from the sensible rules that only a complete fool would ignore. So once people start ignoring the ones they consider dumb - generally judged only by the level of inconvenience the rule causes them combined with the lack of immediate tangible benefit they see) they are more likely to start ignoring the "good" rules, too.

          Stupid laws have the same corrosive effect. They reduce the credibility of the law as a whole and also reduce our respect for the people who try to enforce those laws: the "the law is the law" types.

          1. ChaosFreak

            Re: You don't have to turn you phone off

            You, sir, have made an intelligent and reasonable argument that I hadn't thought of before. And on a Reg forum.

            A pint for you...

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: You don't have to turn you phone off

        It's like you're shouting "I DON'T HAVE AN ENGINEERING DEGREE" over and over and over.

        Get one, then tell me your (more educated) opinion.

  26. Greg D

    not using airplane mode...

    ...means your battery will drain in hours.

    Why would you not do it?

    The safety aspect is cobblers though.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I need to turn my mobe off?

  28. MrXavia

    I turn my phone into fight mode and then off for one damn good reason, to save my battery!

    if I can't get a signal then my phone will eat its battery for dinner while I am eating the food substitute served by the plane...

  29. xperroni

    "10km above the Atlantic"

    During long flights, I often ease myself to sleep by looking at the GPS screen and pondering how utterly and hopelessly doomed we'd be, should anything go awry.

    1. ChaosFreak

      Re: "10km above the Atlantic"

      Don't fret... if you're on a two-engine aircraft then your flight path is never more than gliding distance from an emergency landing site.

      A Boeing 767 has a glide ratio of about 22:1 assuming zero thrust (i.e. both engines are shut down). That means from 36,000 feet you can glide a distance of about 150 miles (apologies for the Imperial units; we Americans are keeping the British traditions alive).

      I recall the case of Air Transat Flight 236 which glided to a landing in the Azores after a fuel leak (and poor decision-making by the crew) led to complete fuel starvation over the Atlantic.

  30. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Am I going crazy ?

    Just landed after a flight where I was shouted at in security because my toothbrush/paste were in a clear plastic bag travel kit. I had to place this clear bag inside an official airport clear bag.

    And then in boots in duty free I can buy a razor - not an electric razor - a proper set of blades razor

    Asked the cashier if I could really take this on the plane - "yes of course, it's been checked".

  31. Danny Roberts 1

    Another reason

    Another reason the cabin crew ask for phones to be switched off is to prevent them becoming projectiles in the event of a crash.

    I would bet most of the people who admit to 'slightly' flouting the rules, leave the phones on but at least put them in a pocket or something. If the rules were 'you can leave it on but put it away', people would 'slightly' flout the rules again and be openly using the phones during takeoff / landing which could then lead to them being projectiles.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Another reason

      I bet my hardcover copy of "The Stand" can kill more people than your phone.

  32. matt747


    So there are a lot of people on here posting (at best) conjecture.

    I am an airline pilot with 16 years professional experience and in excess of 10,000 hours (mostly at the helm of a 747).

    I can categorically say that mobiles CAN and DO interfere with aircraft systems.

    In my personal experience, it has been limited to radio transmissions and reception. The interference sounds exactly the same as holding your phone up to an unshielded speaker.

    I have only ever noticed this whilst flying smaller, older aircraft. I'm guessing that it was more noticeable due to the proximity of 'phone to aircraft RF antenna, and also due to the older aircraft RF shielding being of a lower standard. Personally, I have never experienced any interference with aircraft navigation/non RF systems though. However, that is not to say that it doesn't/couldn't occur.

    To be honest though, radio (comms) interference is bad enough - the pilots could easily miss a vital instruction/readback from ATC - at high OR low altitude.

    There is (correctly) some talk of phones and devices being TOTALLY off for take off and landing. This is, as suggested by some, to ensure that passengers are distracted as little as possible and therefore stand the greatest chance of surviving an evacuation should the worst occur - the vast majority of aircraft accidents occur during the take off and landing phase. This has nothing to do with interference and everything to do best practice - aviation is the safest form of transport in the world for a reason; tried and tested procedures and attention to detail.

    As a sub-note, some airlines are introducing low power base stations/femtocells onboard aircraft that connect to ground cell networks via satellite. These are, of course, fine as the aircraft and systems in question have been checked and correctly shielded.

    My advice:

    Newer aircraft = less likely to be a problem

    Follow advice of the crew.

    If in doubt, keep your phone in flight mode.


    1. Andy Hards

      How dare you tell me to turn off my phone. You're only the experienced pilot who flies day in and day out while I am a business man on my way to an important meeting and if I turn my phone off for even one minute I may miss something of vital importance because I AM IMPORTANT DAMMIT and you can't tell me what to do, so if one of the cabin crew asks me to turn my phone off I will either ignore them and tell them 'it's in flight mode' even though the announcements have specifically said to turn them off even if they have flight mode. Or I will just press the button on the top to put it in sleep mode, because being cabin crew they will not know that it is only in sleep mode and not actually turned off.

    2. Bob Camp

      I used to work at a cell phone company and performed this very testing about 10 years ago. There was absolutely no interference at all from any phones in the cabin. There was the bumblebee (217 Hz) effect for GSM phones switched on in the cockpit, though. But only on the voice radio to and from the tower. No instrumentation was affected. No interference was recorded using 2G CDMA phones, either. Since most modern phones are 3G WCDMA/UMTS, I suspect no interference from them either when they stay in that mode. (I expect them to occasionally switch to 2G mode as the reception up there isn't great).

      We have also seen some radio interference from the much more powerful cell phone towers, but I don't think those are getting switched off at airports anytime soon.

      You can make/receive calls and texts, though the coverage isn't consistent. My main problem is remembering to turn the phone back on after I land.

      1. voice of unreason

        GSM versus 3G

        Since you obviously know what you are talking about, this is more a comment towards others. There is a HUGE difference between GSM and 3G.

        Power limit for GSM is 33 dBM = 2W, or 1W as of ten years ago.For 3G is 24dBm = 0.25W. So, a 3G phone radiates one-quarter as much.

        But that is NOT the source of the bumblebee. It can't be, @ GHz transmit frequency. Bumblebee is the power amp switching on and off at the slot rate. Which is one reason why we moved away from that technology. The point is, you get exactly the same problem on any (non radiating) poorly power shielded power supply. Laptop, personal media player whatever.etc. So, "flight mode" is meaningless. If your electronic device radiates, it's the power supply. It either does or doesn't, and either way the official advice to put it into flight mode isn't credible.

    3. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      SO why are we allowed them at all?

      I assume the risk from 2.1Oz of liquid is similarly miniscule

      A couple of other questions:

      How does the government manage to cover up all the crashes due to phones?

      How come an airline that fits a pico cell (so it gets a cut of the calls) can suddenly certify every phone as safe?

      It costs us about $50k to do EMC testing for CE on a single device and suddenly virgin have managed to test every phone on the market?

    4. tfewster Silver badge

      Thanks matt747 - good feedback

      My gripe was that, just 2 years ago, I was told my phone had to stay off for the duration of the flight - Flight mode wasn't good enough, no phone games, no music player etc. Which stuffed my plans for enduring four hours in cattle-class and, as I was already stressed & stroppy*, I considered getting off the 767 on the basis it must be unsafe if it couldn't cope with ANY electronic devices in the vicinity.

      * Yeah, I'm a bad flyer. I have no problem with heavier-than-air flight, it's airport and airline staff that wind me up. And I'm not a people-person. And I expect lots of downvotes for this rant.

    5. ChaosFreak

      I'm a pilot too... when I get the annoying buzz in the headset I do two things: (1) check my flight bag to see that I've turned off my phone; and (2) yell at my first officer to shut off his damned phone.

      Passengers cannot get close enough to avionics systems to interfere in this way. If you're getting that annoying buzz, the offending phone is almost certainly on the flight deck. Well, unless you're flying really small fry like a Cessna 402 where they let passengers sit in the right seat!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One phrase

    Pan Am Flight 103, Lockerbie. It has been the rule sense then, radio transmitters during flight operation are verbotten. Bluetooth from Upper Class is probably nearing the limits of the transmitter to reach the cargo hold.

    Flying several international and domestic flights. The message is the same radio transmitters must be turned off and cannot be used while the plane is taking off, flying or landing. This became the law across airlines after Lockerbie.

    1. ChaosFreak

      Re: One phrase

      Yes, because terrorists who are trying to remote detonate a bomb in the hold will certainly not do so if the flight crew tells them to shut off their phone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: One phrase

        It was the use of a radio transmitter from inside the aircraft. After the investigation it became a international law to no longer allow the use of any radio transmitter devices. Starting in 1990 this ban included cell phones then as well.

        That is the only reason you are required to turn off electronic devices. Bluetooth devices have a limit of about 1m. Per the story Upper class at the top of a 747 could be out of range of anything in a metal cargo container in the rear of the aircraft.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Phones off during taxiing??

    Glad this article mentioned how we're supposed to have our phones off even after the plane has safely landed.

    Can somebody please tell me what harm could supposedly be done by having our phones on during taxiing?

    Is the plane just going to start driving around randomly and running into sh*t?

    And if so, shouldn't everybody in the terminal also have their phones turned off?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Phones off during taxiing??

      British airports obviosuly use an amazingly volatile version of jet-a which can be ignited by a cell phone inside a plane taxiing 1/2 a mile away

      Every other airport uses the normal kerosene based Jet-a which wouldn't burn if you drop a match in it.

      Quite how these planes manage to run on these two different fuels is a mystery

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: Phones off during taxiing??

        Are you talking about Jet-B? It has a fairly high gasoline content and a lower flashpoint than A. It's usually only used in very cold weather though, and I've never seen it outside the U.S.

        1. ChaosFreak

          Re: Phones off during taxiing??

          No, he's being sarcastic. Please adjust your sarcasm detector...

  35. meanioni

    I'm all in favour of them being switched off

    ...because then you don't have to listen to tw*ts rabbiting on about selling computer database systems or phoning their mates to go on about their thrilling night out and who they did or didn't fancy.....

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: I'm all in favour of them being switched off

      Oh? I'd much rather they be distracted by e-books (no room for physical books) or a muted session of Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies, or whatever (tray tables too small and slippery to use real playing cards). Left without distractions, they may decide to vent their anxiety on ME.

  36. jke
    Paris Hilton

    The average airliner is struck by lightning every eighteen months. I cannot believe that a mobile phone being left on is a greater safety hazard.

    Paris because she is far too smart to be fooled by this airline nonsense.

    John Edwards

  37. crisis

    Older phone interfere with electronics for sure. There have been at least one plane crash (and deaths) on 2003 was attributed to mobile phone interference. Newer phones however are not that much of a worry.

    We are moving towards having the ability to have phones on planes, the planes have been redesigned and are now less vulnerable and phones are more specific in the waveband the transmit.

    Till all the planes are updated and the older phones are no longer in use. Why risk your death and the death of the 100 or so people around you?

  38. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    September 11, 2001

    On the morning of the 4 plane crashes, passengers, it seemed, were able to make mobile phone calls from inside the hijacked aircraft.

    And the pilots who had only 20 days' training were still able to guide the aircraft into the skyscrapers, despite all of their equipment going haywire on account of all of the passengers suing their mobile phones.

    Texan flight schools must be the best in the world.

  39. James 36


    So there is a risk that a mobile phone or other device could interfere with the safe landing or take off of a plane.

    Given that a percentage of the sample doesn't switch off their phone or other device and that there are very few instances of aircraft having incidents as a result of passengers electronic devices can the risk not be assessed ?

    impact - high crashing plane kills people

    probability - low based on my scanning of the comments so please feel free to disagree

    mitigation - ask all passengers to switch of said electronic devices knowing that some will comply and some won't

    the mitigation chosen seems a reasonable compromise , I don't understand why everyone is getting so upset, surely the fact that some people cannot do without their phone or the possibility of not being contactable is more more upsetting ? well it is to me anyway.

  40. Aldous

    Here we go again

    It is not that phones have/can cause crashes, it is that they have not been categorically proved not to. Same thing with cell phones at petrol stations.

    To prove otherwise you would need to test a large number of phones against a large number of airframes across a large number of countries.

    Much easier to tell people to turn them off

    1. RonWheeler

      Re: Here we go again

      In many ways it is a bit like discovering someone has installed the Yahoo toolbar in IE on your SQL server. It is annoying and bad practice, but there is no actual evidence it poses (in itself) a significant risk..

  41. This post has been deleted by its author

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