Have you ever flown a Nigerian airline and attempted to use your phone during the flight? I have flown Dana, Aero, Arik and a few others. Every single time, the flight attendants have insisted that I power off my phone or tablet. Not even the explanation that I have the device on Flight Mode is adequate. I keep wondering why our airlines are yet to update their practices. This is 2015, and all around the world, people use their mobile gadgets during flights.
The airline is concerned that smartphones transmitting and receiving signals inflight might interfere with the aircraft’s electronic systems and perhaps the plane might drop out of the sky. In reality, modern aircraft systems are not that fickle. Chances that a modern aircraft will fall out of the sky even if all 100 passengers on board have their phones switched on and active are slim. Very slim. They are so slim that it is more likely that a passenger aboard would have a heart attack than the plane fall.
The Solution: Flight Mode!
Flight Mode is a setting available on smartphones that, when activated, disables the phone’s capacity to initiate or receive calls, use SMS, or mobile internet, while still permitting use of other functions that do not require signal transmission (e.g., games, built-in camera, MP3 player).
Passengers can use mobile devices during takeoff, during the flight, and during landing without any effect on aircraft or air traffic communications as long as the devices are on Flight Mode. It is called Flight Mode exactly because it was designed with air travel in mind. As long as a passenger’s device is in Flight Mode, the device has zero effect on any electronic system in heaven, on earth and underneath the earth (wait; that sounds churchy; no?).
I want to watch a movie on my tablet while on a flight. I want to listen to music. I want to read a book. I freaking want to take stunning photos of the horizon or the approach to a beautiful city. My device is on Flight Mode. Dear captain and flight attendant, your precious plane will not go into a sneezing fit, convulse, or have palpitations or a cardiac arrest.
This is 2015. Can we just catch up with the rest of the world?