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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).