The insistence that you have to switch your mobile off before take-off is one of the more annoying aspects of air travel – especially since it's not actually necessary, right?
Actually, it looks like there may be some truth in the argument after all, with a new report showcasing a whole range of in-flight incidents directly attributed to interference from a mobile signal.
The report, put together by the International Air Transport Association and surfaced by ABC News, puts as many as 75 incidents reported by planes between 2003 and 2009 as the direct result of interference from an electronic device, with mobile phones the number 1 culprit.
Of course that doesn't necessarily mean plane crashes, but some of the incidents reported are alarming enough all the same.
“At about 4,500 feet,” one example states, “the autopilot disengaged by itself and the associated warnings/indications came on. (Flight attendants) were immediately advised to look out for PAX (passengers) operating electronic devices...(Attendants) reported that there were 4 PAX operated electronic devices (1 handphone and 3 iPods).”
While the ABC feature wasn't able to present proof that the incidents were without any doubt the result of mobile interference, Boeing spokesperson Dave Carson nonetheless claims that all it takes is a mobile signal “in the right place and at the right time” to potentially lead to disaster.
Seems like a fair argument for just living without your phone for a few hours.