A little over three years ago the ban on using personal electronics below 10,000 feet was lifted.
Almost everyone at some point mistakenly either left their phone on in their bag, or had some electronics turn on during the flight which they only realized later. And no Really. Bad. Things. happened. Nor did problems arise when pilots used tablets in the cockpit, either. The notion that $100 million equipment could be brought down by an iPod, or by 100 iPods, was the subject of ridicule.
Now passengers can use their phones or tablets with the door closed, during taxi, and takeoff. But devices are supposed to be in airplane mode.
When the rules first changed, flight attendants would sometimes come around looking. If they saw you typing away they thought you might be connected, rather than just writing messages to send later.
I don’t remember exactly the last time I saw a flight attendant even look askance at anyone, although I’ve seen it happen. Most passengers around me keep their signals on at least until takeoff (and turn signals back on during descent).
Crew don’t care it seems — until they care, last year one Flybe passenger was fined for disobeying crew instructions to turn off his phone or put it into airplane mode.
The only time it seems like electronics are a big deal is when the pilot is going to be making an ILS approach on landing. The captain will announce that all electronics need to be turned off and not just placed into airplane mode.
In my non-expert understanding in an instrument landing system approach you’ve got localizer and glidescope signals being broadcast and when the aircraft is aligned with the runway it should receive them at equal strength — the localizer left and right, and the glidescope above and below.
Your iPad isn’t going to cause a problem, but it’s easier and cleaner to say all electronics off in case there’s some electronic device emitting a frequency that it shouldn’t be which could interfere either because the device wasn’t well-manufactured or isn’t working properly. Highly unlikely that onboard devices will be doing this at the frequencies needed for the ILS approach, and of course just because the captain makes an announcement doesn’t mean passengers conform. But it’s one case where electronics aren’t permitted during landing.
Outside of an ILS approach, roughly speaking it seems it’s now fine to keep using your devices except on Chinese airlines, but once you’re asked individually to switch into airplane mode you really really need to do that!
Question: Do you turn your devices to airplane mode once the door closes? Or do you stay online during pushback through takeoff?