Airplane Mode - Airlines don't care

Erich_F

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Has anyone ever talked a flight attendant into letting you keep your phone (any phone) on while in "airplane mode"? If so, what did you do to get the privledge? It's been my experience that flight crew don't care what it is, if it CAN transmit anything, they won't allow it to be turned on at all. I have also heard crew say during the flight briefings that "Airplane Mode" doesn't count, at any time...not just takeoff and landing.

My point is, all phone vendors now use this as a marketing tool, which in actual practice, is worthless in my experience.

Now, I confess that I have used my XM satellite radio (Pioneer Inno) on board aircraft while in Sat Mode (supposedly a no no). But, the Inno looks just like any MP3 player and I've never been challenged on that. It also can't transmit anything. It's FM transmitter will only work if it's in the car dock.
 

Backnblack

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SOP is to have all electronic items completely off during takeoff and landing.... due to possible interference with onboard equipment..

I've done over 200 flights in the last 1.5 years.... Most people just place them into airplane mode and kill the screen til the plane starts to taxi and the attendants sit down....
 

rsgunther

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I fly a few times every week also - and I use my phone on EVERY flight - I put it in airplane mode during takeoff - then after 10,000 feet you can use it (like any electronic device). They just ask that you don't use the wireless mode - wifi is ok - as a LOT of flights are starting to have WIFI onboard. Anyway - it is a non-issue.

Have you had problems?
 
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Erich_F

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SOP is to have all electronic items completely off during takeoff and landing.... due to possible interference with onboard equipment..

I've done over 200 flights in the last 1.5 years.... Most people just place them into airplane mode and kill the screen til the plane starts to taxi and the attendants sit down....


I'm aware of that, sorry if I wasn't clear. It's a given that ANY electronics should be off during takeoff and landing. I'm a pilot myself and understand the reasons.

What I'm referring to is during cruise, you aren't supposed to have your phone turned on AT ALL, despite airplane mode. The Droid can double as an MP3 player, review documents, or even draft emails offline...while in flight. I would guess you could have the media player screen up playing and MP3 when you show it to the flight crew...but be sure to cover up the Verizon logo at the bottom :)
 

wsbsteven

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I haven't flown in a few years but when I did often, they would say no cell phones even with airplane mode. When I would use my laptop they would ask if it had a wireless card in it (which I disabled) which I would lie and say it didn't, otherwise I wouldn't be allowed to use it. Hopefully with wifi being offered on flights this will be relaxed some.

Mythbusters did a test awhile back on cell phone interference and airplane equipment. They were able to make equipment from the 70's malfunction using certain legacy frequencies with more power than a normal phone could output IIRC. The chances of that happening on a modern flight are probably non existent but I wouldn't want to be on the flight that it happened to cause to crash.
 

rsgunther

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Use it and enjoy it - it's a non-issue. I've never had a problem in the last 5+ years.
 

cb2000a

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I turn my phone to airplane mode then put it in my pocket till we can use electronic devices. Watched movies and played games on flight from Hawaii with no problems.
 

pilot25

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As an airline pilot I can tell you it can and does affect our radio communications. When I have accidentally left my phone on I would hear lots of static in my headphones. Probably due to the fact it was in close proximity of my headset. More and more of us are using noise canceling headsets which are electronic themselves and it affects them.

As far as our navigation equipment goes, more airlines are moving toward GPS only navigation instead of ground based systems. This is good for those of you who don't care about the FAA rule. However, within 20 miles of touchdown we are using radio based navigation systems and phones and other frequency based electronic devices screw with our systems. I don't believe having it in airplane mode will affect our navigation equipment but studies show differently.

While you may not respect the flight attendants for enforcing the rules please turn off your devices for the sake of us pilots trying to provide a safe flight. Is 30 minutes, 15 takeoff and 15 landing, too much to ask?
 
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pilot25

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They were able to make equipment from the 70's malfunction using certain legacy frequencies with more power than a normal phone could output IIRC. The chances of that happening on a modern flight are probably non existent but I wouldn't want to be on the flight that it happened to cause to crash.

What you are talking about is NDB/ADF navigation which was widely used in WWII. It is basically AM radio frequencies where a needle points to the stations origin. Unfortunately, today many South American countries only have this type of equipment at airports in the middle of mountain ranges. We get pretty puckered when we have to shoot approaches with this equipment. If there is lightening in the area it's very unreliable because the static electricity will make the needle bounce and point toward the storm instead of the station. One instance a US based airline was shooting an approach into a South American airfield when the pilots realized the ADF/NDB instrument was pointing straight into a mountain. Luckily it was daytime so they could see. A construction company was building a new road to the airport right where the antenna was. Well they picked up the antenna, hooked it to a generator, and put it on a truck to move it out of their way without telling anyone. South America sucks to fly around.

In the US we use it to catch the score of the ball games.

Please turn off your phones.
 
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arty2hottie

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pilot25 thats too much to ask. That is 30 minutes people can listen to a few more songs. Who cares if you crash because they are so selfish to stop listening. I mean asking them to turn off that phone is like asking them to cut off their right arm.
 
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Erich_F

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OK, just to clarify, my OP was in regards to operations in CRUISE, not departure/arrival. As an instrument rate pilot myself, I agree that phones can be a hazard.

Pilot25, what's your position on "airplane mode", and does your airline make any distinction for operating a phone in airplane mode during the cruise portion of a flight? My guess is that it's easier to just say no, than to verify each device on board is set correctly.
 

pilot25

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OK, just to clarify, my OP was in regards to operations in CRUISE, not departure/arrival. As an instrument rate pilot myself, I agree that phones can be a hazard.

Pilot25, what's your position on "airplane mode", and does your airline make any distinction for operating a phone in airplane mode during the cruise portion of a flight? My guess is that it's easier to just say no, than to verify each device on board is set correctly.

All US airlines should allow you to use airplane mode above 10,000 feet. I don't know of any that don't. We chime the flight attendants which indicate to them we are above 10,000 ft and it's safe to get up and serve everyone and that people can turn on their devices. If you don't seem them get up it's because we have had reports of turbulence. However, they should still make an announcement to tell you that electronics are okay. FAA dictates that below 10,000 ft is a critical phase of flight. Meaning there is a lot of crap going on that we deal with. Any distraction can be very hazardous.

I believe it is safe above 10,000. Airplane mode should turn off any type of transmission and render the device to be just electronic equipment. However, things like a wireless mouse or bluetooth devices emit a frequency which isn't good. Nor are gps devices.
 
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Backnblack

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But, In the real world I would bet that 75% of passengers do not shut down all of their electronics...
 
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Erich_F

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Thanks for your thoughts on this. However, I have heard many briefings on USAir flights mention that airplane mode was not an authorized mode of operation. The flight crew explicitly said phones had to remain OFF for the duration of the flight, AM did not count. So, it would appear that USAir has taken a different approach, or at least the crews that I flew with. Maybe it's an Airbus thing, the junk that they are :)
 
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Erich_F

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But, In the real world I would bet that 75% of passengers do not shut down all of their electronics...

Hah, that brings to mind a flight I had with Southwest once...

We just landed and rolled off the runway headed for the gate. About a minute later, the Captain came on and said that he was getting a lot of "lights" on in the cockpit from seatbelts that were unfastened :)

It was funny hearing the mass noise of about 50 seatbelts being refastened :icon_eek:

Gotta love Southwest crews. :icon_ banana:
 
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