Over the past few years, a number of experts have claimed that cell phone signals no longer interfere with signals on planes. But an aviation expert reveals why it's important to keep your phone in airplane mode when you're flying.
Quoted from The Sun, Wednesday 21 September 2021, Doug Drury, Head of Aviation at CQUniversity Australia, said a lot of work was being done to test the safety of cellphones on planes and separate their frequencies from air traffic control.
He told The Conversation, "Personal electronic devices can transmit signals in the same frequency band as aircraft communications and navigation systems, creating what is known as electromagnetic interference. But in 1992, the US Federal Aviation Authority and Boeing, in an independent study, did not discover problems with computers or other personal electronic devices during the non-critical phase of flight.
"The US Federal Communications Commission is also starting to create reserved frequency bandwidth for cell phones and navigation and aircraft communications - so they don't interfere with each other," he added. However, thanks to the 5G upgrade, there are once again question marks about the safety of in-flight phones.
According to Professor Drury, that's because 5G bandwidth is much closer to that used by the aviation industry. He said, "The current 5G wireless networks used for higher-speed data transfers have caused concern for many in the aviation industry.
"Radio frequency bandwidth is limited, but we're still trying to add more new devices to it," he said. The aviation industry shows that the bandwidth spectrum of 5G wireless networks is very close to the reserved spectrum of aviation bandwidth. This can cause interference with the navigation system near the airport which assists the landing of the aircraft.
Airport operators in Australia and the US have raised aviation safety concerns regarding the rollout of 5G, but appear to have rolled out without such issues in the European Union. "In any case, it is wise to limit the use of mobile phones on airplanes while the issues surrounding 5G are resolved," Drury said.
5G isn't the only reason to worry about phones on planes. In recent years, even airlines like Ryanair have started warning passengers about bringing their phones on planes, due to fires caused by batteries.
The danger of electrical equipment overheating while in the air is considered so serious that it is included in the safety briefing before takeoff. The information has been added to the airline's pre-flight safety messages, in addition to what to do in the event of an emergency.
Passengers are asked to notify flight attendants if their device overheats, or gets lost in the seat. It is thought that the new message is now a more important part of the pre-flight briefing.
Regarding the safety explanation about life jackets, buoyancy aids are only used in extreme circumstances. With overheating devices potentially causing a fire on board, they were seen as an immediate threat rather than landing in the water.
Stuck in a Power Outage
Problems in flights are often unexpected, for example, recently when a passenger was trapped in an AirAsia plane without electricity and air conditioning at Singapore Changi Airport, Saturday, September 10, 2022. This incident reportedly lasted for at least half an hour.
A video of the incident was uploaded by Singapore Incidents, launching AsiaOne, Wednesday 14 September 2022. Initially, the clip showed passengers sitting in a dark cabin with most of the lights turned off.
The video then cuts to the plane's passengers standing and looking as if they were waiting to disembark with the lights on again. The description on the tape says people were "stranded on the plane for almost 30 minutes due to an electrical short, causing the doors to not open."
However, someone commented on the video that the plane doors were operated mechanically, not electrically. Responding to Stomp's question, AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat said, "Airasia flight AK716 from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore on Saturday, September 10, encountered a minor technical problem upon arrival at Changi Airport."
"Technical problems caused by the connection of the electrical wiring which resulted in the electrical equipment being unable to supply the aircraft's electrical system, were corrected as soon as replacement electrical equipment was provided," he added. "The safety of our guests and crew is always our number one priority and is never compromised."
Earlier a family accused AirAsia of defrauding after charging "unreasonable" baggage fees for their four pieces of luggage. Rocio Ocampo revealed in his TikTok video that was shared on June 5, 2022 his family had paid more than 30.48 Million Vietnamese Dong (approximately $1,263.30 USD) to check-in their baggage on a Malaysia-Indonesia flight.
This "exorbitant fee" was allegedly charged because the family of four checked their baggage at Hanoi Airport, instead of paying in advance online. "I'm very disappointed in you, AirAsia," Ocampo said in the video.
While his son, Knox, likened their "disgusting" treatment to being charged a million rupiah for a glass of lemonade. Describing they had "no choice" but to pay for baggage fees that cost twice as much as a flight ticket, her husband, Nelvine, complained.
He said, "We could easily cancel our flights. But our visas expire today, so I can't do much." Some netizens blamed Ocampo for not reading the terms and conditions before booking the flight.