We all know how some people are with their phones - they really do not like to put them away. Bus - phone, car - phone, bike - yes, there are creatures like that - phone. There is a widespread myth that smartphones can not be used while on board planes, but there is also a significant amount of people who do not care or know better. Whether or not they are correct, well, read this text and make up your own opinion.
For many years, up until 2012, it was believed that radiowaves created by phones and other mobile devices could jam the communication between pilots and flight control. If such communication failure would take place, it could easily lead to difficulties in flight and landing of the plane, in some cases even to a wholesale catastrophy. In year 2012 the aforementioned belief has begun to die off, enough for the regulations to be softened; officially speaking, you now can fly in a plane and use your smartphone*, tablet, iPod or any other kind of mobile device. The only exceptions are when the plane takes off and land - during those events the phones are to be turned off.
Is there anything to be afraid of? Well, I was surprised when I learned this but no, it seems that there is not. International Air Transport
Association has analysed 18 million flights over the course of six years. During that time, IATA has found merely 75 cases of malfunctions
- most of them minor ones - that could be caused by radio waves. Yet another research shows that statistically there is always at least a
single turned on smartphone aboard every plane, and yet the machines do not drop like flies.
As technology progresses, the above regulations will probably be further softened, at least as long as there will be certainty that mobile devices do not interfere with plane flights. For the moment, the majority of specialists' opinion on the matter can be described as "eh, we are not 100% sure, but you will probably be fine with your phone turned on".
*details differ between various airlines. British Airways for example only allows passengers to use phones during particulary long flights.