Gadgets on the Plane – What you can take on Board


It wasn’t so long ago that smartphones couldn’t be turned on in airplanes at all, and everyone was frightened with scary stories that a smartphone would make the plane fall down. Now they say everything is allowed, and then they forbid it again. But how is it really? Let’s figure out what to do with gadgets when you’re going to fly on a winter vacation.

What you can take on board

In short, almost all gadgets can be taken. The strict exception is that ill-fated Samsung Galaxy Note 7. This smartphone, released four years ago, had a habit of suddenly exploding during charging. It ended up smoking on board a Southwest Airlines flight from Louisville to Baltimore, USA. The plane along with its passengers had to be urgently evacuated, and since then, airlines worldwide banned the Galaxy Note 7 for carriage. In general, Samsung recalled the entire batch of smartphones and closed their production. But if you by any chance have this old insidious device – leave it at home.

On board are allowed electronic devices, hearing aids, pacemakers, other portable medical equipment. You can take with you power banks, laptops, smartphones, headphones and all other electronics.


Restrictions are imposed only in the volume of hand luggage. So if you decided to take a stationary PC with a huge monitor (well, in case you’re afraid to put it in the luggage), then the iron friend may not pass in weight and dimensions. See more

As an exception, some airlines prohibit taking satellite phones and radios, radios, remote-controlled toys and portable TVs – in general, anything that involves the use of radio communication in the workplace.

Do I have to take everything?

If you are worried about the safety and integrity of your gadgets – take everything you want in your hand luggage.

If you are used to traveling light and do not like to get on the plane with a laden backpack, you can leave something in the luggage.

For example, most planes even the most budget airlines have long been equipped with individual USB-ports for each passenger. So the same power bank for charging your smartphone is unlikely to be useful – you can charge the gadget from the onboard TV.

In most airlines you still can not use the communication. So think about it: do you really need a tablet or laptop for the next few hours?

How to use gadgets in flight

The most important and worrying question: what you can turn on and how.

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Until recently, the ban on the use of GSM communication was common for all world airlines. Smartphones had to be put into airplane mode, turning off all network search, Internet access, Wi-fi and Bluetooth. At first they had to be kept completely off for the entire flight, then they delineated which could be turned on and which could not. And in 2014, the European Aviation Safety Agency EASA lifted the ban on the use of electronics on board and allowed the use of devices even with radio modules turned on during taxiing.

Why was it not allowed and then allowed? The navigation equipment used to be really imperfect and catch any external interference, operating on the same frequencies. The turned on telephones prevented pilots from communicating with dispatchers, made it difficult to track the airplane during the flight and distorted navigation readings. Over time, electronics have become more advanced, and numerous studies have shown that smartphones don’t interfere with flying in any way. So the ban was lifted.

But the EASA ruling is only a recommendation, and in the end airlines are free to decide what they allow their passengers.

Western airlines have mostly moved away from the ban on GSM communication. On most flights of European airlines and the USA it is allowed to use mobile phones during takeoff and landing. You can make calls, surf the Internet, or connect to laptops and tablets. Generally speaking, there are no restrictions.

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If everything is safe, why can’t you?

The fact is that the situation with the very same radio interference is not fully understood. For example, back in 2006, the Federal Aviation Administration found no evidence at all that phones interfere with air navigation. But Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science said at the same time that electronics do interfere. The same was confirmed by NASA research in 2016. The absolute safety of gadgets with radio modules has not been proven, and some airlines are keeping the ban as an extra safety net. If there is any risk at all, it should be abandoned.

At the same time, airlines also talk about passenger attention. Takeoff, climbing and landing are the most responsible and important moments during the entire flight. Therefore, phones and headphones are often asked to be turned off so that passengers can hear and respond to crew messages and any emergency situation. Gadgets are seen as a strong distraction, and airlines are additionally reassured for passenger safety.

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