We have all memorized the routine: Please check that your seats are upright, that your tray tables are stowed, that the window shades are up, that laptops are stored in the overhead bins, that electronic devices are set to flight mode, and that your seats are upright.
The first four seem reasonable, don’t they? Shades on the windows must be drawn so that we can see if there is a fire or other emergency. In order to quickly exit the row, tray tables need to be stowed and seats need to be upright. Due to the insufficiency of the seat back pockets, laptops can become projectiles in an emergency.
Additionally, in order to prevent an airplane emergency, mobile phones must be set to flight mode, correct? It all depends on who you ask.
Technology has advanced a great deal
Radio services, which have been coordinated to minimize interference since the 1920s, are necessary for aviation communication and navigation.
Compared to some of the older analog technologies we used even 60 years ago, the digital technology we use today is significantly more advanced. Personal electronic devices can emit a signal in the same frequency band as an airplane’s communications and navigation systems, causing electromagnetic interference, according to research.
However, an independent study conducted in 1992 by Boeing and the US Federal Aviation Authority examined the effect of electronic devices on aircraft interference and found that computers and other personal electronic devices were unaffected during non-critical flight phases. The most crucial phases are thought to be the takeoff and landing.
In order to prevent them from interfering with one another, the Federal Communications Commission of the United States also initiated the creation of reserved frequency bandwidths for distinct applications, such as aircraft navigation and communications and mobile phones. In order to avoid interference issues with aviation, governments all over the world developed the same policies and strategies. Since 2014, electronic devices in the EU are permitted to remain on.
2.2 billion passengers
The aviation industry has continued to prohibit the use of mobile phones, despite these global standards. Ground interference, which you might not expect, is one of the issues.
A series of towers connect wireless networks; If all of the passengers flying over these ground networks are using their phones, the networks could become overloaded. Over 2.2 billion passengers flew in 2021, which is half the number of passengers that flew in 2019. This may be a valid point for the wireless providers.
Obviously, with regards to versatile organizations, the greatest change lately is the transition to another norm. Many in the aviation industry are concerned about the current 5G wireless networks, which are desirable for their faster data transfer speeds.
Despite the fact that radio frequency bandwidth is limited, we continue to attempt to include more new devices. The aviation industry points out that the reserved aviation bandwidth spectrum, which is very close to the bandwidth spectrum used by 5G wireless networks, may interfere with navigation systems near airports that help aircraft land.
While the rollout of 5G appears to have gone off without a hitch in the European Union, airport operators in Australia and the United States have raised concerns about the network’s impact on aviation safety. In any case, it is prudent to restrict mobile phone use on airplanes while problems with 5G are resolved.
Ultimately, we can’t forget air rage
The majority of airlines now offer free or pay-as-you-go Wi-Fi services to passengers. In theory, passengers could use their mobile phones to make video calls while flying with friends or clients thanks to new Wi-Fi technologies.
I asked a cabin attendant her opinion on using a phone while flying on a recent flight. She stated that it would be an inconvenience for the cabin crew to wait for passengers to complete their call before asking them if they wanted any drinks or food. On an aircraft with 200+ travelers, in-flight administration would take more time to finish in the event that everybody was settling on telephone decisions.
For me, the issue with using phones while flying is more about the social experience of being on a plane with more than 200 people who might all be talking at the same time. Phone use while flying may also alter the overall flight experience in a time when disruptive passenger behavior, such as “air rage,” is on the rise.
Noncompliance with safety requirements like not wearing seat belts, verbal fights with fellow passengers and cabin crew, and physical fights with passengers and cabin crews—commonly referred to as air rage—are all examples of disruptive behaviors.
In conclusion, using a phone while flying does not currently affect the aircraft’s ability to function. However, given the large number of passengers to serve, cabin crews may prefer not to be delayed in providing in-flight service to all of them.
However, aircraft navigation systems’ radio bandwidth is being compromised by 5G technology; To answer the 5G question about interference with aircraft navigation during landings, additional research will be required. Keep in mind that landings are required when discussing the two most important phases of flight—takeoffs are optional.