To turn off your mobile, or hide it from the flight attendant, that is the question.
We are continually told to switch our mobiles off when flying, but with 4 out of 10 people not obeying these instructions, how dangerous is it really?
In a nutshell, no one knows.
Reports of disruption to radio transmissions from ground control to pilots, and flight instruments that show misleading data, is regularly blamed on mobile phone signals. While (non-rigorous) testing in this area has been conducted since the 60’s, all studies have been inconclusive.
Naturally then, the airlines would err on the side of caution.
To do proper testing that either unequivocally proves, or disproves, the theory of interference, would require a lot of time and money and would need to be updated regularly to keep up with new mobile phones and technology. The near complete airline ban globally in 2016, of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 following 13 reports of the phones catching fire, shows that any plausible threat would be dealt with in much more dramatic ways.
If you’re the worried type, it’s comforting to note that aircraft electronics are built with signal interference in mind, and are technically equipped against any serious issues your mobile phone might cause. Also, Mythbusters blew the whole theory out of the water! Check out what they found here. However, some pilots have reported hearing interference through their headsets, while not exactly life threatening, it can be very annoying for them to deal with.
To understand the technicalities of interference more and why it can occur, even if not to detrimental effects, read this…it seems it is better to be safe than sorry.
Perhaps the best part of that announcement is that it decreases the possibility of 400 passengers simultaneously talking on their phones, turning your flights into claustrophobic stresspods. At least now most of the culprits have their sound turned off and are hiding their flashing screens safely out of sight.