What's the point of Flight Mode?

What's the point of Flight Mode?

Ever wonder why we’re asked to switch our phones to airplane mode during a flight? You’re not alone.

The Basics

Flight mode is a special setting on your phone, laptop, or tablet. When you switch it on, it stops your gadget from sending out signals. You can’t make calls, send texts, or use Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. However, you can still listen to your downloaded music, read ebooks, or play games that don’t need an internet connection.

Why Use It?

It’s about keeping the plane safe.

In theory, the signals our devices send out could mess with the plane’s signals. That could cause problems with things like the navigation system or communication with air traffic control. Although the risk is low, it’s still a risk. And when it comes to flying, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

On top of that, keeping your phone searching for a signal in the sky can make your battery run out fast.

Any Changes Ahead?

More and more airlines offer Wi-Fi during flights, although at exorbitant pricing.

In the future, it looks like you’ll be able to connect to 5G, at least within the EU. The difference between this and current technology is the addition of a unique piece of network equipment called a picocell, which connects the plane’s network to the earth through a satellite.

The signal frequencies airports use in The US are too close to 5G frequencies for the above to be an option. So it may be a while before we see this available on flights in the US.

The Takeaway

So, for the moment, we still need to use flight mode when we fly to ensure that every flight is as safe as possible.

So, next time you flick that flight mode switch, think of it as your tiny contribution to a safe journey, or at the very least, saving your battery life!

Posted on June 11, 2023