Anyone who has ever flown on a commercial flight in the United States has heard the familiar line about turning off cell phones for the duration of the flight. The question of course is why the airlines require that we do this. There are some official reasons given and then others that those in the known insist are the real reasons for the ban.
- This is a fancy way of saying that if you play with your cell phone, it could crash the plane. The concern is that the signals may cause some interference with the instruments in the main cabin.
- This is another common issue mentioned by the airlines as a reason why cell phones are banned. They say that the cell phone signals could cross with their radio signals and create problems communicating with the tower on the ground. In other words, if you play with your cell phone, you could crash the plane.
- Some airlines have offered this reason as well, saying that when people are in a confined space for long periods with no way of getting out, there needs to be a certain social order maintained. That order can be disrupted by people using their cell phones on the plane, since it may cause tempers to flare.
- No airline has ever officially acknowledged this as a reason for refusing to allow cell phones on airplanes, however many industry insiders say this is the main reason for the cell phone ban on airplanes. In the back of many airplane seats you can find an "air phone." This is a phone which has been approved by the airline and which is "shielded" so that it will not interfere with the instruments or with ground communication. However, since these phones are controlled by the airline, they can charge what they wish for making calls from them.
- After the events of September 11, 2001, many airlines have said that offering cell service on board an aircraft is extremely dangerous since it could be used as a way for terrorists to communicate with their handlers on the ground.