Airplane mode soon to be a thing of the past


In the coming days, passengers flying within the EU will be able to fully use their mobile devices since the European Commission recently mandated that airlines have until June 30, 2023 to install the essential 5G technology.

This ruling has been a long time coming, we have been waiting for this for 20 years. Some people had some concerns about safety, but all the systems on aircraft have shielding and special designs that ensure that no interference from onboard smartphones can happen- Vance Hilderman, aviation expert and CEO of airline consulting firm AFuzion, told The Brussels Times

Why are passengers required to turn on airplane mode when flying?

Currently, EU airlines ask their customers to switch off their phones or put them in flight mode throughout the trip. This is due to the lack of knowledge regarding how mobile data can impair flight communications in the past.

Representative | Source

There was a concern they could interfere with automatic flight control systems. What has been found with experience is the risk of interference is very small-  Dai Whittingham, chief executive of the UK Flight Safety Committee

Concerns about how 5G frequencies can impair flying systems and even change altitude measurements have been voiced in the US. However, the UK and EU do not have a problem with this. Whittingham said.

Also, according to Hilderman, the airline safety authorities wanted the passengers to pay attention to the safety briefing and listen to any announcements during takeoff and climb, so they devised the rule requiring people to put their phones in airplane mode.

The American vs the European scenario

Due to the fact that 5G technology uses slightly different bands in the EU than it does in the US—in the US, the 5G band sits just a little higher than in Europe—the circumstances in the US and Europe are slightly different. This causes it to jog up somewhat closer to the radio altimeter band, which is crucial for landings in inclement weather since it calculates how far an airplane is traveling above the ground at any particular time.

Representative | Euronews

” European airspace is very different from US airspace: in Europe, you are crossing a country every 30 minutes. There are many different cultures, but the Schengen area is generally still a more homogenous society – even though Italians and Swedes are not exactly the same “- Hilderman

When will the next big move be in the EU?

The deadline for member states to install 5G technology on aircraft is June 30, 2023. As a result, travelers will be able to use applications, make calls, and stream music and films while in the air.

Representative | Fl360aero

” 5G will enable innovative services for people and growth opportunities for European companies. The sky is no longer a limit when it comes to possibilities offered by super-fast, high-capacity connectivity “- Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for the Internal Market

Representative | Crast

The narrative is, if smartphones could be safe at gas stations, they should practically be safe anywhere else.


COVER: Travel Off Path