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This is why you should turn off your smartphone during flight

Gisela Swaragita
Gisela Swaragita

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, November 2, 2019  /  03:05 pm
This is why you should turn off your smartphone during flight

A smartphone on airplane mode. (Shutterstock/Georgejmclittle)

A Twitter post that went viral stirred debate on Wednesday about the use of cellphones on flights.

Twitter user @anditoaja uploaded a video of an exploding cellphone on a flight and talked about the importance of keeping your phone off while onboard an aircraft.

The video, however, has been debunked as an old video and the explosion was said to have been caused by a power bank.

The importance of keeping your phone off on a flight is still important, though, said aviation observer Alvin Lie.

Alvin said using a cellphone inside an airplane was acceptable only if the plane was equipped with inflight Wi-Fi.

“You are only allowed to use the Wi-Fi feature, not 3G or 4G, because if you turn the 3G or 4G feature on, your phone will continuously look for a BTS [base transceiver station] signal. Meanwhile, on a flight, the phone will not get the signal,” he told The Jakarta Post on Friday. 

“If only one cellphone [is turned on], maybe it’s okay. But if there are many cellphones turned on, the plane's communication transmission and navigation can be disrupted because it also uses radio waves.”

He added that when we put a cellphone near a radio, television or a loudspeaker, the electronic devices will emit a strange sound when the cellphone received a message or a phone call.

“Therefore, inside the plane, your phone must be on airplane mode. If the flight provides Wi-Fi, you may use only the Wi-Fi, not mobile data or, even worse, make a phone call,” he said.

Read also: Passengers can still bring recalled MacBook Pro on plane cabin: Ministry 

The use of a power bank is also hazardous during a flight, he added.

“In the video, the cellphone exploded not because the owner turned the signal on, but because the cellphone was charged with a power bank,” he said.

“Maybe the cellphone was already fully charged but the owner kept it connected to the power bank, leading to a short circuit. Therefore, power banks are now banned in checked baggage. It can only be put in hand-carried baggage, but not to be used on a flight." (mut)