Every time you decide to board an airplane for a family vacation, you know there are a few rules you must follow. You know the ones. Stow your oversized items overhead. Smaller bags go under the seat in front of you. Seatbelts must be fastened (most of the time). And you must put your cell phones, and other electronic devices, into airplane mode. You probably remember all those rules every time you fly. But what happens if you forget to use airplane mode when flying??
First, let’s chat about the actual airplane mode rule. Up until 2013, there was no airplane mode when flying. Everyone had to actually turn off their cell phones and other devices due to safety concerns. There is still some mixed information out there as to how much a cell phone signal can interact with navigational systems on an airplane. It is due to all the different information that everyone must turn airplane mode on while flying.
Airline staff cannot tell which travelers on an aircraft have not turned their devices to airplane mode. So, if you forget to turn the mode on, the flight crew will not see an indicator light up and flash telling them to come find you.
However, if multiple passengers on the flight have not turned airplane mode on, the flight crew will experience quite a bit of interference. When that happens, one of the members of the flight crew will make another announcement reminding people to turn it on for all their devices.
Most travelers fall into the category of either wanting to send one last text or email before the plane leaves the gate. Or they simply forget to switch to airplane mode amongst all the busyness of boarding and getting things where they need to be.
So, not much will happen if you simply forget to use this mode when flying. Of course, it is considered a federal offense, since you are technically disobeying instructions from the flight crew. Most airlines will only file charges though if a passenger is refusing to get off their phone.
Right now, everyone should follow the rule of using airplane mode when flying. Doing this will ensure the safety of the flight, because there won’t be any interference. But don’t beat yourself up if you happen to arrive at your destination and realize you never did switch to airplane mode.
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