Flight Safe Mode

As part of the security and safety announcement that gets made each time you get onto a plane these days, there’s invariably a bit which goes something like this … “all electrical equipment should be switched off during taxiing, take off and landing and all devices with a flight safe mode should have this enabled now“.

This makes sense; in the case of an emergency, the airline wants you concentrating on the emergency, not your laptop or your phone. It may also be the case that the phone may in some way interfere with the flight systems. Opinion on this is divided but the former seems a more realistic option than the latter.

The bit about the flight safe mode is certainly the case with Virgin Atlantic, Lufthansa and KLM, all of which I’ve flown with of recent. But British Airways seems to be taking this one step beyond, now insisting that not only do you switch things off but for mobiles, you enable flight safe mode and then switch it off as well into the bargain.


Isn’t this taking things just a bit too far in the name of safety? It’s called flight safe mode for a reason. It’s safe. For flights. How much further will BA take this? “Please engage flight safe mode, switch the phone off, take the battery out and then, after placing the device on the floor, smash it with your heel and place the fragments in the bag provided taking care not to injure yourself“.

Photo Credits: Camilo Rueda Lopez on Flickr.
Written and posted from home (51.427051, -0.333344)

Written by Gary

Husband, Father, geotechnologist, map geek, coffee addict, Sci-fi fan, UNIX and Mac user.



Agreed, this might be a bit paranoid. But “safe” is not a black or white proposition.

Are there even any regulations on when a manufacturer may use the “flight safe mode” label?

Chris Fleming

I had assumed that they were concerned about people turning their phones off before the flight, but then during the flight deciding to turn their phones on to play a game or listen to music.

If the phone isn’t turned to flight safe mode beforehand then it will come on with all radio’s blaring.

Obviously we all know that phones aren’t going to cause airplanes out the sky, I suspect that on almost every flight someone forgets to turn their phone off and they even license pico cells for aircraft use now.


Holger – I don’t think there is an officially blessed “flight safe mode” label. The term is accepted to mean “switches off all RF transmitters on the device”. That’s probably half the problem.


Chris – I’ve lost track of the number of times a mobile rings as we’re coming into land; of course, this means that the phone has also been on for the entire duration of the flight.

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