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Why cell phones affect planes

By Edited Dec 25, 2015 0 0

Everytime I board a plane these days, there seems to be a mad rush for passengers to use their mobile phones before the final announcement is run for people to switch off their phones for the flight. The reason airlines give is that mobile phones interfere with the navigation and communications equipment on planes. They are even banned by the United States Federal Aviation Agency.

More recently on planes however, some airlines are offering a telephone service and even wifi internet, so how are these services different from your own mobile phone?

Research done into the interference caused by mobile phones on planes has not been conclusive. NASA have been testing this for several years and they have found that there is no impact on airline safey. Most of the evidence that cell phones can causes interference seems to be antedoctal. Some people argue that the systems need to be able to fly through electrical storms, so how can a small mobile phone be enough to cause interference to a plane's navigation systems?

The FCC ban of cell flights only affects commercial airlines. It does not cover private planes and there is no direct evidence that using a mobile phone on a plane has resulted in a crash. Other people suggest that problem lies with phone companies as they cannot bill you the right amount of money while you are traveling so fast on the plane.

While it's not a stringent scientific study, the television program "Mythbusters" on the Discovery Channel said that there was no interference from cell phones on planes and interference would only occur if the electronic shielding was not working.

There is also the social aspect of using a cell phone on a crowded plane. People tend to talk loudly on a mobile phone, and it could cause disturbance to other passengers on the flight, particularly if they are trying to sleep.

Some airlines such as Ryanair and Qantas now offer inflight mobile service. Until the FCC uplifts it ban on cell phones in the U.S. it will be some time before U.S. airlines offer such a service.

As competition amongst airlines grows even stronger as airlines all attempt to provide newer services, it is only a matter of time before passengers can use cell phones on flights. While it will be a convenient service for many passengers, it will more than likely create a huge amount of discomfort for some passengers who are looking just to relax and perhaps sleep on the flight. If airlines go ahead and cell phones on planes, they may need to provide a separate area for cell phone users or only allow them to be used at a specific time.



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