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Why you can’t use mobile phones on planes April 8, 2007

Posted by Al in : interesting,transport,travel , trackback

Everyone knows you can’t use mobile phones on planes because they interfere with the plane’s electronic systems, right? It turns out this may, or may not be true, however nobody knows because it has never really been tested. This is strange as mobile phones have been around for around 20 years now, and have been commonplace for around 10 years, yet no effort has been made to find out whether they can be used in flight.

Another concern is that using a mobile phone in the air would cause confusion for the carrier’s cell system. This might also be the case, however this is a problem which could be overcome with better software for routing calls between cells – which may also bring a benefit to relieving congestion of the cell structure during peak periods, however such an upgrade would cost a lot of money. And it’s money that appears to be the main reason why you can’t make a call whilst flying: money that the government, the airlines and the mobile carriers would have to spend; and money that the airlines would miss out on if they could not levy a charge for any communication you want to have with the ground.

There is one reason which I do agree with though: airlines are concerned that allowing mobile phone calls would cause tension and arguments in the plane during a flight. I can see how this would happen when most people tend to be loud and inconsiderate whilst making a call on their mobile phone – I would hate to be sat in close proximity to such a caller, particularly on a full flight, or during turbulence, when you wouldn’t be able to move around. I can also imagine how people would feel if there was a plane crash and everyone suddenly started to get calls asking if they were OK, and telling them about the crash. All of a sudden tension levels would rocket, and fear and anxiety are highly contagious. I wouldn’t like to be on such a flight.


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