31

Why aren't cell phones allowed?/ What problems to cell phones cause? Most of these cases apparently originate from a series of unexplained events in the 90s which were believe to be caused by electronic gadgets, hence the ban. This was when cell phones appeared, and there was an aggressive ban as a result. NASA has a list which includes some of these and ...


31

Presumably, they use an off-line transaction. The reason your credit card has raised numbers is that, in the old days, before ubiquitous data connections, a card transactions used a machine like this to transfer an imprint of your card details onto a form, using carbon paper. You would then sign the form and the merchant would send it off to the bank to get ...


24

It will either go through the airline's existing air-to-ground system (like the seat-back phones you pay $5/min for) or they've got a store-and-process-later arrangement with the card companies. (Just because you can't use a phone doesn't mean the airline can't, they just follow certain conditions better)


23

What is it called? Buying stuff on an airplane during flight is know is in-flight commerce (IFC). How it works? Credit cards are swiped via wireless handhelds on aircraft but the transactions are processed when the aircraft gets on the ground. Limitations Because of this billing mechanism – which sometimes results in fraudulent transactions – there is a ...


15

As I pointed out in another answer of mine, it is not legal to use a cell phone in flight, and as another answer to the same question says, it really doesn't work very well anyway.. Now, if the pilot has an emergency, they can exercise the emergency authority of the PIC as allowed in 14 CFR 91.3(b) to go ahead and use the cell phone. If it is just the radio ...


14

I worked with the credit card processing at one of the bigger airlines a few years ago. We used handhelds that stored the info from the magnetic strip of the card. The transactions were uploaded to our back office system and then to the payment service provider after the flight landed. The only "hard" protection is the modulo 10 checksum of the credit card ...


14

I am a private pilot, and sometimes, the cellphones cause interference with the radio. Most of the time, cellphones are not a problem, but once in a while, I have to turn mine off because it is causing parasitic noises on the radio. I don't know how bad it would actually be in a passenger aircraft. But if it is similar to my experience in small aircraft, ...


11

Yes, they have done a lot of testing, hence why they now finally realize that most electronics are of no harm, and you can use them. The FAA announcement page has a link to a fact sheet of their report, as well as a link to the PDF of the report. In addition to the FAA report, other agencies have weighed in (such as Boeing). Basically, the rules were ...


11

Cribbing liberally from Manfred's answer on a related question, it basically works like this: The airline contracts with a communication company and installs satellite transceivers and "small cell" cellular equipment on their aircraft. Your phone talks to the on-board cellular equipment just like it would to a cell site on the ground, but the information is ...


10

Your phone must be in airplane mode whether it is in the passenger cabin or cargo hold. In this case the phone will never establish a 3G connection and won't meet your desired use case. Leaving the phone with cell service on will likely also not solve your problem. Cell phones tend to use a lot of battery trying to connect to a tower when there are none ...


8

Apart from Manfred's answer, there are other factors in play: Airlines make quite a nice income from the payphones in aircraft Cellphone towers typically have pretty bad (if any) reception straight up, they're designed for ground level use after all which dictates the design of their antennae (an omnidirectional one is a lot less energy efficient) People in ...


7

Cell networks require that cell towers be able to distinguish between signals coming from phones which are within the zones served by the towers, and those coming from phones in more distant zones. There are nowhere near enough radio frequencies or time slices to allow every zone in the US to have its own combination of frequency and time slice. In general,...


7

it depends on the flight. With a low altitude lower speed ( <200kts) GA flights they can still be useful and can serve as a usefull backup. Once you travel faster than 200 kts, and higher than about 12,000 you end up switching cell towers too fast and the phone uses a lot of power trying to get as strong enough signal. If connected to the planes power ...


6

Almost always. If they don't, you often end up with this annoying sound on the radio:


6

Cell phones and other electronic devices can interfere with the pilot's comms and other crucial avionics As far as I can tell, nobody ever demonstrated an actual case of this. At least as long as the electronic device is FCC compliant, but all the consumer electronics has to be. Keep in mind that all the avionic systems already have to be shielded against ...


4

What problems do cell-phones cause? The FAA believes they could cause controlled flight into terrain. Airlines have been ordered to replace or modify the cockpit display units fitted to hundreds of Boeing jets. The US air safety regulator said that tests had indicated that mobile phone and computer signals could cause the screens to go blank. ... "We ...


4

A Faraday cage for the entire aircraft is not necessary. All the avionics are inside metal enclosures so they have their individual little Faraday cages. Resistance to electromagnetic interference (EMI) is part of the design, affecting not only the enclosure but the design process of the electronics themselves. Cabling can be designed with a shield (foil ...


4

You need to be in flight mode to disable cell connection. That will turn off WiFi but, at least on my phone, you can turn WiFi back on without leaving flight mode.


4

The item "Mobile phone ... OFF" is (or at least was) actually a part of the Before Engine Start checklist on several commercial aircraft types. I tried to come up with a reference, but most photos found online only refer to PC simulator software. However, there seems to be one actual photo of the checklists on the cockpit table from a real A320 aircraft ...


3

I am a novice, non-professional pilot. I have never seen anyone (instructors, examiners, other pilots) switch their phone to airplane mode, and in fact it is not uncommon to make cell phone calls from the air. It is also extremely common to use data connected applications (e.g. ForeFlight) from the air. That being said, it seems like a pretty good idea to ...


3

There is a similar ruling since last week. The use of electronic equipment as long as they are in "flight mode" during all phases of flight was already allowed in Europe by EASA since November 2013. Since last week (26 November 2014) EASA also allows phones to be on and connected throughout the flight. This allows for WiFi services, phone services and ...


2

Transactions are offline. The data is sent to the payment gateway on connection between the POS and wifi/GSM network on the ground. Fraud happens, a lot. Airlines have dedicated departments to chase these failed payments with varied success. One Dutch airline, once the card ceiling was crossed (e.g. upgrades for a family might cost over €1000 which might ...


1

I think you'll find that cell towers have enough problems supporting users on the ground with the spectrum available without having to point the antenna skywards in the hope of supporting flights. The mention of a picocell on an aircraft would work but this requires expensive back haul over a satellite link and the time delays that incurs.


1

I am not myself a pilot, but I have a number of friends that pilot small private aircraft and use cellphones while in flight. At altitudes of 10 or 12 thousand feet and speeds of 150 kph they work just fine. People say they might 'interfere' with the aircraft. But if the electronics in aircraft are really so susceptible to interference, why are you ...


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