Please turn off electronic devices!

Most airlines have had this rule in place for more than a decade now, even though there has been no definitive documented instance in which passengers leaving their devices on caused a plane crash. Is your mobile phone going to take an entire aircraft down just because you texted your better half? Probably not. [1].

I’ve actually never given it so much thought until I came upon the following excerpt from “The Winner stands alone” by Paolo Coelho.

Image “All mobile phones must be switched off during the flight because they might interfere with the onboard systems.” We all believe this and do as the flight attendants ask.

Igor knew when this myth had been created: for years now, airlines had been doing their best to convince passengers to use the phones attached to their seat. These cost ten dollars a minute and use the same transmission system as mobile phones. The strategy didn’t work, but the myth lingered on; they had simply forgotten to remove the warning from the list of do’s and don’ts that the flight attendant has to read out before takeoff.

 What no one knew was that on every flight, there were always at least two or three passengers who forgot to turn their phones off, and besides, laptops access the Internet using exactly the same system as mobiles. And no plane anywhere in the world has yet fallen out of the sky because of that.

 Now they were trying to modify the warning without alarming the passengers too much and without dropping the price. You could use your mobile phone as long as it was one you could put into flight mode. Such phones cost four times as much. No one has ever explained what “flight mode” is, but if people choose to be taken in like this, that’s their problem.” [2, 39].

I read a few related articles. It turns out that proof why we are obliged keep our devices switched off seems to be lacking.  Some airlines allow their passengers to use mobile phones and even have Wi-Fi spot on the board. Other studies claim that the use of gadgets may interfere with on-board devices and disturb a crew.

Some experts fairly point out that if there was a real risk of interference of a mobile phone or an iPad with the aircraft’s systems, people would not be allowed to take them on the aircraft at all. [3].

Therefore the whole thing isn’t so much convincing, as it seemed to me before. I think that many passengers, including me, will still switch off their electronic devices during the takeoff as the flight attendant request, considering that the true isn’t actually worth risking their life, but there will always remain doubts whether it may be really an another myth created by the big companies to push up consumption…




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