It’s the weird warning that comes along with the high tech times we live in. No matter how science savvy you are, no matter how much you know about the inner workings of communication and aviation, few completely comprehend this particular mode of operation. Can you still surf the web? How about send and receive texts? Can you stream your favorite films or TV shows with it on? That’s the issue with so-called “Airplane Mode.” Few understand it, fewer still know what it’s for, and there’s been so much misinformation swirling around about it that we need instructional videos like the one below to (hopefully) clarify things.

Here’s what we know – basically. Airlines claim that the signals from your cellphone interfere with the communications in the plane. As the images below illustrate, pilots complain of a buzzing sound that comes through on their headphones. This makes hearing the control tower difficult, especially if they have some important information to pass along. But some cautions have been much, much worse. There are those who claim that your little mobile device – tablet, phone, etc. – can screw up a plane’s navigational controls, causing issues as severe as a loss of instruments…or worse…a crash.

Here’s What Pilots Have To Say About Airplane Mode




So you see – it’s more about annoyance than actual danger to the passengers and crew. Still, it seems weird that a little buzzing would lead to a complete ban, and with so much of the science on the fence about whether the cellphone can cause anything more serious, we guess the powers that be are going for a “better safe than sorry” approach. So the next time someone asks you about the reasons behind “airplane mode” you can give them what you learned here – if it makes any sense, that is.

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