Why Cell Phones Should Be Turned off on Airplanes

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Last updated April 12, 2019

A recent poll conducted by USA Today has confirmed that many airline passengers fail to turn off their cell phones and other mobile devices when flight crews on airlines request that they do so.  According to the study, almost 50 percent of those who would class themselves as frequent air travelers have seen passengers using their mobile devices even after flight attendants have announced that it is time to turn them off.  Even more alarming, the polled travelers reported that this behavior takes place on almost all flights, which can only lead to the conclusion that it is a routine problem.

Travelers may not understand why cell phones should be switched off during takeoff and landings.  The need is very real, according to Dave Carson, who works as an engineer for Boeing.  “Any device with a battery, including cell phones, e-readers, laptops, PDAs, and Game Boys, has some level of emission that has the potential to interfere with cockpit instruments or navigational equipment.” Landing systems on aircraft are also vulnerable to interference from these kinds of emissions.

Armed with this information, when you are an airline passenger yourself, do the right thing.  Comply with posted signs and instructions as well as with verbal directions given throughout the flight.  Your safety is too precious to risk, so end your conversation and put away your cell phone or other electronic device when asked.