Blogging Plane Travel

So Why Do You Have To Turn Off Your Phone On A Plane?

November 14, 2015


In the 21st century, we have wifi in the skies and now you’r even allowed to leave portable electronics turned on as long as they’re on airplane mode through the whole flight.

Since the early 1990’s, turning off cell phones during flight has been a thing.

But have you ever wondered why?

If you’ve ever accidentally left your phone on during take-off, you’ll know that once you’re at 10,000 feet, you can’t get any single what-so-ever anyway (not that I’ve ever done that….). So seriously, why is turning off your phone signal a thing??


If you think about, electronics often interact in strange ways (have you ever turned on a radio near a TV and its gets all fuzzy? Crazy stuff).

To get why turning off your phone is actually a thing, you have to know that planes have three tracking/nagigational toosl: GPS, radio for communication and a landing guide signal.

Turns out that a study was done way back when that showed cell phones can somewhat interfere with planes’ radio signals and can lead to pilot error (which is pretty terrifying). While planes also use GPS that your phone doesn’t mess with, it’s waaaay better to be safe than sorry.

So in short:

You never really had to shut off your phone all the way but keeping them in airplane mode is probably a thing that should keep happening (even if it’s just so that your don’t land with a dead phone from trying to get some signal at 30,000 ft).

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  • Lina Khalifa November 14, 2015 at 20:03

    This is actually quite a fun post! Never really gave this much thought x

    Lina /

  • Elyse November 15, 2015 at 01:20

    I’ve always been such a stickler, when I’m on a plane I just turn off my phone completely. So I had no idea it wouldn’t work that high in the air (which makes no sense because isn’t it closer to satellite signals?! What is physics?!?
    It’s so freaky to think that there’s so many radiation waves (TV, WiFi, Cell Phone etc.) that we really have yet to find out how they interact and what they’re eventually going to do for the human race. (Maybe I watch too much Sci-Fi…)

    Anyway! Thanks for sharing, good to know for sure what it does now! 😉

    • Pia @ Gymbags and Jetlags November 16, 2015 at 06:58

      I totally agree. Its crazy to think of all the things in the air that we can’t even see. Thanks for reading Lindsey!! xx

  • Romantiquely November 15, 2015 at 04:47

    I have been thinking about this for a while, and now it’s so great to finally know why! I love this post, it was so much fun to read through! xxxxx

    • Pia @ Gymbags and Jetlags November 16, 2015 at 06:59

      Right?! I love finally getting answers to something I’ve been wondering about forever. Thanks love!!

  • Nadush November 15, 2015 at 15:39

    I love flying! 🙂
    please follow my blog : THE COLORFUL THOUGHTS

  • B-BICHE November 15, 2015 at 19:28

    Interesting article! I travel quite a lot since I live abroad, and I was always wondering why – Thanks for the information, you’re a star 🙂 Keep up the good work girl!

    XO from Malta,

  • winscribbles November 16, 2015 at 02:05

    nice article to read. it’s a nice change from the typical posts that are written by many bloggers. 🙂

    • Pia @ Gymbags and Jetlags November 16, 2015 at 07:01

      That’s literally what I strive to do!! That means a lot, thank you!! <3

  • Kat Horrocks November 16, 2015 at 11:15

    I always wondered about this as well! It makes sense when you think about it as the interference could be pretty scary!!

    Kat |

  • Ela BellaWorld November 16, 2015 at 21:03

    I always turn on airplane mode whenever I am on the plane and I get annoyed when others don’t do that especially as taking off. It is better safe than sorry!

  • Adaleta Avdic November 17, 2015 at 03:39

    This is a super interesting piece of information. One of my coworkers told me that pretty soon, we’ll be able to keep our phones on and we’ll be able to use our data too because it won’t interfere with planes. He told me that the research never showed it affects the plane, but then again maybe 1 or 2 doesn’t but 100 does. I’d be interested to know and/or see the research because this is a fascinating topic. I’m always on planes! xx,

  • Rasa Virviciute November 18, 2015 at 12:35

    Great post, I always set my phone on airplane mode when I’m on the plane 🙂

    xo, Rasa

  • Erica White November 18, 2015 at 17:05

    Great and informative post!

  • Quinn November 19, 2015 at 15:22

    I have actually always wondered about this! It’s kind of scary to think about but very informative