What happens if you do not switch the device to airplane mode?

“All electronics devices should be put in an airplane mode now or turn off, while we are on board, to not affect the aircraft and navigation system”.

Have you heard this before? There is always a flight safety speech before a takeoff. The pilot says all those recommendations to communicate what to do if an emergency situation happens. The only thing hard for most of the people is exactly that: “turn off or switch to airplane mode the devices”. Being away from our devices is harder and harder.

The fear of being away make us break the rule and leave our devices on. For some reason, we forget the rules exist to protect our lives and to guarantee a great flight. But the question is “What happens if you don’t switch your phone to airplane mode when you fly?”

Leaving the devices on, it is not going to cause an airplane crash but for sure it will annoy pilots and make a horrible sound for air traffic controllers. Which means it is going to distract them. Also while we are on the ground the phone operates with a low power, when the phone is getting away from the cell phone tower, the power increases and will make an effort to communicate effectively. There is a belief that a phone’s signal can interfere with important electrical systems.

If you activate the airplane mode:

  • Cell phone. This device stops working. It will not be able to connect through messages, call or with an internet connection.
  • Wi-fi. Any device will not be able to connect on a nearby network. But it will effort to find a connection even when it is not possible. Even if the device is connected, it will be disconnected.
  • Bluetooth. This type of connection is disables with the airplane mode.
  • GPS. It will not be able to work either in the airplane mode. However only some devices could work.


Devices are designed to send out signals strong to reach great distances when they are taking off the ground.

Of course the sound depends of how many devices are on, because if there is one, the sound will not be that noisy as it is all the devices on. Maybe in that case the pilots decides not do anything. But imagine how hard would get the noisy if everyone let the cell phones on.

Some planes have calls available an Inflight Wi-Fi connection. There is no need for the devices be looking for signal from the ground.