• May Ashaaki

Can Flight Attendants Tell If You Don’t Put Your Phone Into Airplane Mode?



If you’ve been on a plane, then you have probably heard it before. That warning at the start of the flight telling you to switch off your phone or put it on airplane mode. Most people automatically turn their phones to airplane mode or switch them off altogether, but have you ever thought about what might happen if you don’t?


Having your phone on during a flight could cause interference to some systems on the plane. Though this is rare, and pilots can always tell when this is happening, it is better to err on the side of caution.



So, can flight attendants know when your phone is on?


Yes and no, depending on the flight that you are on. If you are on a large plane in a long-haul international flight, then chances are that your plane will have internet connectivity during altitude. Flight attendants can then see how many devices are connected to the plane’s 3G or 4G network.


If you are on a modern plane, then the aircraft may have CCTV cameras onboard. CCTV cameras within the cabins are not to spy on you, but they are there to help the cabin crew have a clear visual of everyone. These cameras are often found in business-class, and first-class cabins and are there to ensure that everyone in the cabin can get service. This is because these cabins are often closed off and getting the attention of a flight attendant may be difficult.


That being said, it will still be difficult for a flight attendant to know you are online unless they are standing next to you and can see you uploading images on your social media pages. On some flights, attendants might allude to knowing how many devices are online and that is rarely the case. It is just a threat to make sure that passengers are adhering to the rules.



Though it is rare, having your cellphone on may cause interference with the pilots’ systems. If there is a second warning from the flight attendant, then this has probably come from the pilot, and it would be best to turn off your device if you still have it on.


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