Airline Tech – A Question

January 4, 2011

I’m in the air over Massachusetts typing this into my iPhone. The plane I’m on, Jetblue flight 777 from Boston to Las Vegas, is packed with people headed to either CES or the SEXPO.

But that’s hardly the focus. What I’m wondering…questioning really…is whether airplane mode is good enough when attendants ask you to shut down your phone.

You see, on this particular night, on this particular flight, we were requested to turn our phones off and that Airplane Mode wasn’t good enough.

Well, is it? Can a phone in airplane mode interfere with airplane operations?

If the answer is yes, then wouldn’t anything electronic – down to hearing aids, DVD players, watches and cameras – be a problem too?

I’m sure there are plenty of folks who have forgotten to turn off their phones for a whole flight, and didn’t cause a crash.

As a tech journalist, I just want to clear up the confusion for myself and maybe educate some people along the way.

Your thoughts?