silverfox
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Joined: Thu Mar 15, 2001 8:39 am

Phones on planes..dumb question

Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:46 am

On another forum there are people frothing at the mouth on this question.
I notice that several US airlines advertise wifi.
Now my phone can access the internet, but according to some on there, the plane will fall out of the sky, yet using a laptop it wouldnt.
IF i only have a phone can i use the planes wifi?,or would the phone start searching for a signal once i turn off airplane mode.

Thanks
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Phones on planes..dumb question

Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:53 am

Most modern phones can use wifi whilst in airplane mode, they just disable the regular phone signal. It's not so that using a phone on board would make the plane fall out of the sky, but it might disturb the aircraft systems. Plus that on cruise altitude you got no perception anyway. Wifi doesn't have these issues since it's in another frequency range.

Weather or not your phone can use wifi whilst in aircraft mode depends on the type of phone, they're not all the same.
 
Birdwatching
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Re: Phones on planes..dumb question

Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:30 am

I've never read any serious, scientific proof that an airliner is more at risk in any way if passengers have their phones turned on. In today's world, with thousands of flights every day and 90% of passengers carrying phones, it doesn't matter how many bans and announcements you make, a certain percentage will have their phone active during the flight, either because they don't know how to set it to airplane mode, or they don't care, or they forget. Proof: On the next flight you're on, pay close attention to the sounds you hear during the last 10 minutes of approach. Once the plane is low enough to be within cell phone coverage, phones all over the cabin will make the usual notification sounds of received emails / text messages / missed calls etc.
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CXfirst
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Re: Phones on planes..dumb question

Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:42 am

For just about any smartphone, turn on flight mode, this turns off wifi, bluetooth and cellular. Then, go and turn wifi on. You'll still be in flight mode, with cellular off, but wifi still on.

Flight mode is just really a quick setting that turns off wifi, cellular and bluetooth. You could turn these things off manually and have the same effect.

-CXfirst
 
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maortega15
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Re: Phones on planes..dumb question

Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:57 am

I sometimes forget to turn on airplane mode on my phone, never had a problem. I'm sure that there is at least a dozen flights where people tend to forget to turn off their phone or don't even bother turning it off,
 
airboeingbus
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Re: Phones on planes..dumb question

Sun Apr 09, 2017 12:11 pm

The main issue is that WiFi has a standard frequency 2.4GHz (5Ghz for newer devices) this is a standard set by WiFi Alliance. This allows the FAA and other Agencies to research and approve the use of said frequencies on board aircraft. Cellular radios however use a wide range of frequencies from 600Mhz to around 3Ghz depending on region and country, this changes from device and intteration of cellular technology (GSM, 2G,3G,4G.etc). Therefore it would be extremely hard to certify all of the frequency bands across all aircraft as there is simply so many of them and they are changing constantly. Therefore they just reccomend you turn of cellular radios in devices.
 
TheOldDude
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Re: Phones on planes..dumb question

Sun Apr 09, 2017 12:17 pm

Birdwatching wrote:
I've never read any serious, scientific proof that an airliner is more at risk in any way if passengers have their phones turned on. In today's world, with thousands of flights every day and 90% of passengers carrying phones, it doesn't matter how many bans and announcements you make, a certain percentage will have their phone active during the flight, either because they don't know how to set it to airplane mode, or they don't care, or they forget. Proof: On the next flight you're on, pay close attention to the sounds you hear during the last 10 minutes of approach. Once the plane is low enough to be within cell phone coverage, phones all over the cabin will make the usual notification sounds of received emails / text messages / missed calls etc.


I agree. The numbers bear you out. With >1.7 million people flying per day, assuming a very conservative 99.9% compliance rate, and assuming 90% of passengers have cell phones, about 1,500 phones are not in airplane mode each day. Yet troubles from the non-compliance are not big enough to either be common knowledge or to have the airlines engage in active measures to gain 100% compliance.

(edited to add "assuming")
 
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reidar76
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Re: Phones on planes..dumb question

Sun Apr 09, 2017 12:23 pm

About 15 years ago we didn't know if mobile phones might, under special circumstances, disturb aircraft systems. The same was true for sensitive medical equipment at hospitals. Your were asked to turn of your mobile phone at both places. Since mobile phones at that time was becoming a popular device for listing to music, "flight mode" quickly appeared.

Later, after lots of testing, it was concluded that mobile phones doesn't have any effect on aircraft systems (or medical equipment).

Onboard you are still told to put your phone in "flight mode". The reason for this is because your phone will only work while at low altitude, that is, during take off/ climb and landing. At these times the airlines don't want people talking on the phone, maybe telling their friends and family it's a windy day and a bumpy take off. Then, a few minutes after take off, the signal was suddenly interrupted and lost.

I think that within about 5 to 7 years it will be common to have aircraft with a cellular base station onboard. It will be turned on at cruise altitude (roaming access), giving everyone the possibility to text and make phone calls onboard (for a high price).

The best reason why you should put your phone in "flight mode" is to save battery life. When at cruising altitude the phone will put the cellular antennas into full power mode, trying to establish a connecting to a base station on the ground. It will not succeed, and will continue to search for a network at maximum power until the battery is depleted.
 
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Coal
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Re: Phones on planes..dumb question

Sun Apr 09, 2017 1:15 pm

reidar76 wrote:
At these times the airlines don't want people talking on the phone, maybe telling their friends and family it's a windy day and a bumpy take off. Then, a few minutes after take off, the signal was suddenly interrupted and lost.


I don't think it's about the inconvenience of having a dropped call but rather to try and have people's attention in case there's an emergency?
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reidar76
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Re: Phones on planes..dumb question

Sun Apr 09, 2017 1:58 pm

Coal wrote:
reidar76 wrote:
At these times the airlines don't want people talking on the phone, maybe telling their friends and family it's a windy day and a bumpy take off. Then, a few minutes after take off, the signal was suddenly interrupted and lost.


I don't think it's about the inconvenience of having a dropped call but rather to try and have people's attention in case there's an emergency?


Yes, I agree, but having a dropped call in that kind of situation could make some people quite worried that something had gone wrong.
 
zrs70
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Re: Phones on planes..dumb question

Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:32 pm

Every once in a while, a flight attendant announces, "we see there are still three phones that have not been to airplane mode."

Of course, they don't see a thing. They just want us to THINK they can!
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Slcpilot
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Re: Phones on planes..dumb question

Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:39 pm

It is my suspicion that the primary reason for the phone ban dates to the period when cells phones were analog and had much higher broadcast power.

I chuckle at my mother, who has for years innocently put her ringer on mute....thinking that was "airplane" mode...that being the mode that wouldn't disturb others on the plane!
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lavalampluva
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Re: Phones on planes..dumb question

Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:40 pm

I think it has to do more with cabin noise. Can you imagine 100 people yacking away on their phones in such a confined space?
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dc9northwest
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Re: Phones on planes..dumb question

Sun Apr 09, 2017 3:25 pm

Not hearing people on phones is one of my favorite things when in the air.

Let's keep it this way.
 
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Aviaphile
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Re: Phones on planes..dumb question

Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:04 pm

dc9northwest wrote:
Not hearing people on phones is one of my favorite things when in the air.

Let's keep it this way.


Hear, hear! Can you imagine trying to get some sleep on a long haul flight and being disturbed by incessant conversations and ringtones on phones??
Some people hardly need phones they speak so loudly. One of the best things about flying is being away from mobiles.
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silverfox
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Re: Phones on planes..dumb question

Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:54 pm

Thanks for all the replies, just getting my head around Windows 3.1 let alone all this smartphone technology!! ( just to make it plain that WAS a joke)

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