GT For Beginners: What is the Airplane Mode in Mobile Phones

Whenever we board a commercial airline, at the time of security measure announcements the flight attendants ask you to switch off your mobile phones, though you may continue working on your laptops and music players. Well, it’s not that they hate your phone. They are just taking some necessary precautions so that your cellular frequency does not interfere with the flight navigational systems thereby causing any unfortunate damage.


Let me take you to the days when our cellular phones were just used to send and receive calls and SMS (remember Nokia 3310 and 3315?) and if at all, there was no signal in the phone, it was as good as a paper weight. So switching off the phone at in flight sounded like a fair deal. As of today, our cellular phones have evolved as smartphones and one can use it for so many purposes to knock the boredom in flights.

I myself usually play some music, watch some videos or read some books or magazines and thus if someone were to ask me to switch off my phone, I’d be entirely clueless on how to pass the incredibly boring flight hours.

Solution to Boredom in a Flight – Airplane Mode

Well, that’s not the case these days. Our phones are called smartphones for a reason and one of the smart features we see in almost every phone today is the ability to switch the phone to Airplane mode (Offline mode for some Nokia phones).

In simple terms, airplane mode simply turns off all the wireless and radio connection in your phone thereby restricting any outgoing calls, SMS or any other activity that may require wireless access. You can however use your phone to listen to music, read books or do any of the activities which do not require phone radio access. (In some phones, FM Receiver, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi antenna and GPS may work but its advisable not to use them and keep them switched off)

So even though the in-flight attendants asks you to switch off your mobile, you can simply switch on the  Airplane mode. This mode is a win-win situation for both the airline carrier and yourself. They get their navigation right. You get your music playing. Still if a flight attendant does not listen to you and asks you to switch off your phone you have two options: either become a renegade and simply say that it’s a music player or be a paragon and switch off your phone.

Furthermore, it’s not necessary that you use the offline mode only in airplanes. For example, whenever I have to ignore all my incoming calls making the caller believe that my cellphone is switched off or not reachable, I simply switch on the airplane mode. Nice way to avert nasty calls during productive hours, no?

Any other great uses of the offline mode come to your mind? We’d love to hear them. Furthermore, if you have any additional doubts regarding the airplane mode, you can shoot me your questions in the comments section.

(Image Credits: kalleboo)

Last updated on 03 February, 2022

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