Why Can’t You Use Cellphone During Flight?

23 Apr, 2022 16:42 IST|Sakshi Post

By Shyamala Tulasi

A Cell phone is an important gadget in day-to-day life. As it has become an integral part of our lives, people are using them everywhere like while travelling, eating, to message or calling someone. 

But there are some places where the use of mobile phones is restricted. You are not allowed to make a call while you are airborne because you’re prohibited to connect to a cellular network for making calls.

As a traveller on the plane, you’re expected to put the phone on an aeroplane mode and allowed to use its camera for photographing the beautiful sky view or clouds or selfies, however, you’re prohibited from making a call even when the plane is taking off or touching down the tarmac as per the aviation rules.  

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has long prohibited the use of phones and other devices to connect with cellular networks, because of what it says is the potential for those electronic gadgets to interfere with aircraft navigation and communication systems. In 2013, the FAA did relax things a bit, allowing the use of mobile devices in aeroplane mode, in which the phone's ability to transmit radio signals to cell towers is turned off (enabling the aeroplane mode), as long as airlines could show that it wouldn't interfere with a plane's electronics. (In aeroplane mode, the ability to call and text is turned off. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth access are also turned off but you can turn them on separately while still remaining in aeroplane mode.)

Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which regulates mobile phones, banned airline passengers in 1991 from making calls in flight, out of concern that those signals would interfere with communications networks on the ground. That prohibition is still in force, though in recent years the FCC considered, but then rejected in November 2020, a proposal to allow a technology that would have permitted passengers to make cellular calls without creating interference.

Is it really necessary to ban cell phones on Aircraft?

Researchers in the mid-2000s concluded that phones did have the potential to interfere with critical electronics in aircraft, though they were not able to back it up with hard evidence demonstrating that due to the use of cellular phones mid-air caused an accident.

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