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Do You Worry About Gadget Interference on Airplanes?

What's with all the gadget hate lately? First Nick Nolte blamed his house fire on a broken printer and now Qantas is investigating the role of laptops and other personal gadgets in a recent scary altitude drop.

Now I'm not one to say "there's nothing to fear," since I can be pretty paranoid about this stuff myself. I heed the instructions to turn things off and keep them off when I'm flying, but I know that there's not really hard evidence saying that personal electronics definitely cause plane crashes and operating malfunctions.

It's an uneasy conclusion, I know, but I feel like you have to just trust that you'll be OK on a plane. Better be safe than sorry and turn your gadgets off when the nice flight attendants tell you to. How do you feel about it?


Join The Conversation
Lady-J9 Lady-J9 8 years
Not to ape everyone above, but this was totally a MythBusters ep. Don't worry about your electronic equiment in aero.
twellve twellve 8 years
i once accidentally forgot to turn my mobile off during an early morning commercial flight and only realized as we were about to touch down (and immediately turned it off). another time, i was on a private jet making a brief stop to pick up more passengers and as we were about to take off again, realized i'd left my phone (now stashed in the back of the plane) on. when i informed the flight attendant, she told me not to worry about it, so it was left on for the 2,000 mi. flight. i'm no aviation engineer, so i don't know if a single mobile or electronic device creates less problems than dozens [of them] being on (transmitting, attempting to connect, etc.). i also don't know if the type/size of plane/jet or radar systems at the airports can influence the magnitude of the purported interference. aside from that, there are personal electronics in use on planes that are always on: digital watches, travel alarm clocks, pacemakers, so again, i'm not sure how those factor in against say, a Nintendo DS. i suspect they use scare tactics to address something that is only a genuine problem on a large scale because if they were to allow one passenger, they'd have to allow them all. not saying it's completely unfounded, just possibly exaggerated.
sparklestar sparklestar 8 years
I wouldn't use my laptop/gadgets on a plane out of consideration for other people around me.
gemsera gemsera 8 years
What a load of bo**ocks LOL Mythbusters. done and dusted.
vivaciousv1114 vivaciousv1114 8 years
Even my physics professor said that cell phones and other electronics do not interfere with plane radar. They have completely different wavelengths. Actually the first reason prettywarrior gave is the exact reason that he told us they made the rule. Not because of any interference.
codewhiz codewhiz 8 years
My husband says that his brother who's an engineer with Boeing says that one time a kid playing with his Gameboy was interfering with the plane a bit.
HeidiMD HeidiMD 8 years
I have always suspected that the "no cell phones" rule is a much-needed courtesy to other passengers. I cannot imagine being trapped on a five-hour flight with the guy next to me blabbing on his cell phone the whole time. That said, I woke up to my fiance checking text messages on his phone and I flipped out a little. Haha. I am afraid of flying to begin with, and I was like, "OH MY GOD DEREK YOU ARE GOING TO CRASH THE PLANE AND KILL EVERYONE." Hahaha.
Mother-Mayhem Mother-Mayhem 8 years
And let's not forget that many planes offer the use of the "Air Phone" at, I don't know, $50 dollars a minute and the last time I flew JetBlue they had DirectTV available too... How could that sattelite signal be received safely but my Blackberry presumed dangerous?
prettywarrior prettywarrior 8 years
Electronics don't mess with airplane equipment. There's no way that even an airplane full of laptops, cell phones, and CD players could cause the equipment to malfunction. Didn't anyone see that episode of Mythbusters? ;) The real reason that the flight attendants tell you to turn that stuff off during takeoff and landing is 1) so it doesn't go flying out of your hand/lap and hit someone in the head, and 2) takeoff and landing are the two times when things are most likely to go wrong, so the flight attendants want everyone paying attention in case something happens and the passengers have to abandon ship!
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