“Your portable electronic devices must be set to airplane mode or turned off.”
You may have heard of this familiar announcement by a flight attendant before your flight. Why is it necessary to set your smartphone to airplane mode or turn it off when you on an airplane? You may wonder how turning a smartphone on can give huge impact to such large aircraft.
Let’s get to the bottom of the truth about airplane mode, which you know as common sense, but you may not know the exact reason for, with Incheon Airport!
Airplane mode, a safety setting for all!
To begin with, airplane mode is the function of blocking all communication of electronic devices such as cellular communication, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. Since only telecommunications are shut down blocked, you can still use all other features or apps installed in your electronic device. In general, if you swipe down from the top of your smartphone, you can find an airplane mode button. Then why shut down your smartphone’s telecommunications on an aircraft?
It’s for safety measures when an aircraft takes off or lands. When the pilot communicates with the control tower in the airport during take-off or landing, electromagnetic waves from electronic devices like smartphones may interfere with the pilot’s communication. If the pilot fails to communicate with the control tower, it may lead to a huge accident.
Is in-flight Wi-Fi safe?
Many of you may know the above as common sense. Then, some of you may be wondering if the electromagnetic waves generated even when set to airplane mode create any problem. Furthermore, in-flight Wi-Fi is offered on most aircrafts nowadays. If so, are these electromagnetic waves safe?
When there was no airplane mode, everyone turned their mobile phones off. Since the impact of portable electronic devices was not known at that time when such devices were launched, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) set up guidelines to shut off all electronic telecommunications during take-off or landing. This decision has spread across the world and is still being maintained. Even today, some airlines ask you to turn your mobile phones off, instead of setting them to airplane mode.
In 2013, however, the FAA determined that short-range telecommunications except for voice telecommunications show little impact. This is why an airplane mode setting was introduced, and why many aircrafts recently began to offer a Wi-Fi service.
But still you need to be careful about voice telecommunications. It may create a noise in a pilot’s communication with a control tower during take-off or landing. Although many regulations have been eased lately, some airlines still emphasize setting your mobile phones to airplane mode or turning them off. Because it’s “Safety First, Safety Second!”
Airplane mode conserves battery life
There is another benefit with the airplane mode in addition to safety. Since your base transceiver station keeps changing in an aircraft flying at a fast speed, your battery may die early if your smartphone is turned on. However, if you turn on the airplane mode instead, you can conserve your smartphone’s battery life and protect the safety of passengers at the same time. Isn’t this great?
If you are still confused, it is best to follow the instructions of each airline. Because some airlines ban the use of any kind of mobile phones in an aircraft. So instead of following your own judgment, don’t you think it is better to follow their rules? For the safety of all, we hope you consider and practice the guidelines on how to use and handle your smartphone in an aircraft!