Pamela Connellan

Domestic Travel

The real reason we have to use flight mode on a plane

The real reason we have to use flight mode on a plane

With flying for vaccinated passengers looking like it will happen soon, we could be back on a plane some time soon and putting our phone on flight mode is always one of the things we have to do when we get in our seat.

Most of us think if we don’t do this as soon as possible, there could be a major problem somehow but we don’t really know why we have to do it. Sometimes we think - does it even matter?

But now, thanks to TikTok, we finally have the answers from a flight attendant called Cierra Mistt who’s shared the real reason we must put our phone on flight mode.

Already her TikTok video has gathered more than 1.7 million views.

As Mistt says in her video: “There are approximately 45,000 flights that happen every single day, with about 2.9 million passengers on board,” she explains in the video.

“And how does all this flying happen successfully? Believe it or not, pilots actually aren’t in charge of flying.”

Mistt explains that although the pilot is operating the plane, it’s the communication between the ground and the pilot which is even more critical.

“From the moment the boarding door closes to the moment we’re landing, the pilots are following specific instructions given to them by a group of people on the ground called Air Traffic Control,” she says.

“In order for the pilot to be able to communicate with air traffic control, they use frequencies. Yep, just like the frequencies we use to send messages, stream video and insta-stalk our fave influencers on our phones,” she adds.

Cierra goes on to explain that sometimes these frequencies collide, causing a complete loss of signal.

“Picture how bad it would be for a pilot, who is taking directions from ATC on the ground to all of a sudden lose signal and [need to] start flying blindly. All because the frequency of a passenger’s phone has intercepted it.”

Many commented, thanking her for the explanation

Mistt received a lot of comments and thanks for the fact that she finally explained the full reason behind the need to use flight mode.

As well, there were one or two sceptics and clarifications from experts in the field, particularly around the terminology used in the video.

One electrical engineer said the real reason for flight mode was “unintended radio waves emitted by phones and other devices” or “intended radio waves being inadvertently picked up by the pilot’s equipment”.

He added that nowadays, “our devices don’t emit or accept unintended waves as much” and questioned whether flight mode was still “absolutely necessary”, but added: “Out of caution, do it.”

So, after watching this video, it’s great that we know more about why we need to use flight mode – and given it’s such a small, simple thing to do, it hardly seems like a big thing to ask of passengers.

Photo: Shutterstock


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