Why Do You Need to Turn on Airplane Mode on a Plane? What Does Airplane Mode Do?

In order to avoid signal interference with aviation equipment, planes must be in Airplane Mode. To maintain safe flying operations, it turns off Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and cell networks.

by B Kishwar

Updated Mar 29, 2024

Why Do You Need to Turn on Airplane Mode on a Plane? What Does Airplane Mode Do?

Why Do You Need to Turn on Airplane Mode on a Plane?

Yes, it is very important to turn on the airplane mode on a plane which ensures safe flying. When the airplane mode is turned on, it prevents sending signals that can interfere with the instruments on the airplane. Your phone will not make calls or use mobile data to access the internet when in airplane mode.

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Your phone won't make calls or use cellular data to access the internet when in airplane mode. It's like turning your phone silent for the entire duration of the flight.

To maintain safety during flights, passengers are required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to switch to airplane mode.

You cannot make regular calls, but if there is Wi-Fi on the airplane, you can use it. So make sure to turn on the airplane mode before take-off to maintain safety and avoid any disruptions during the flight travel.

What Does Airplane Mode Do?

By turning on airplane mode, all wireless and cellular signals gets disabled from the phone. Once the phone is in airplane mode, users can manually select signals such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. 

What are the Consequences of Not Turning on Airplane Mode on a Plane?

1. Safety Risks:

If the airplane mode is not turned on during the travel, it might cause issues for the aircraft's navigation and communication systems. The flight's safety may be at risk due to this interference.

2. Lack of Awareness:

A lot of passengers could be unaware that some electronic devices, such as Kindles and smartwatches, generate signals that could interfere with the airplane's systems.

3. Regulatory Compliance: 

To reduce potential risks to flight operations, rules requiring airplane mode activation have been activated by regulators and airlines.

4. Potential Disruption: 

While incidents are uncommon, there have been situations of possible onboard system interference caused by operating electronic gadgets.

5. Pilot Authority:

Pilots have the authority to order passengers to turn off all electronics when there is a risk to their safety, such as during important flight phases.

Does Bluetooth Work in Airplane Mode?

Yes, if your electronic device complies with the airline's rules, Bluetooth can function when it's in airplane mode. To keep the airplane safe, Airplane Mode often disables devices like Wi-Fi and mobile networks. However, some airlines allow Bluetooth to remain on, enabling you to utilize Bluetooth headphones while in flight. 

But you will have to turn off Bluetooth and put your headphones aside during takeoff and landing. In general, Airplane Mode usually disables Bluetooth, but sometimes it allows you to use it. For a safe flight, always stick to the guidelines of the airplane

Choosing Between Wired and Wireless Headphones on A Plane

There are two main choices for headphones on an airplane: wired or wireless.

Wired Headphones:

  • Compatibility is certain because these headphones link straight to the airplane's entertainment system.
  • They are accurate for long journeys because they don't depend on battery life.
  • They do have restricted mobility and tangled cables.

Wireless Headphones:

  • Wireless headphones using Bluetooth are convenient and cord-free.
  • Even though they need to be charged, they are comfortable and flexible to use.
  • While some airplanes allow Bluetooth use, others might not allow it at specific periods.

Choosing the Best Option

  • Wired headphones are the best option for compatibility and durability.
  • While they depend on flight restrictions, wireless headphones are convenient and allow for greater mobility.
  • When picking an airline, take into account both your interests and the policies of the airline to have a smooth flight journey.
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