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Why it’s actually important to put your phone on ‘airplane mode’ during flights

Those who have flown on planes know the routine. During take-off, you are asked to buckle your seatbelts, put your seat in the upright position, and put your phone on airplane mode.

If you are like a lot of people, then you might be scratching your head when it comes to that airplane mode requirement. What does it mean and if you disobey — would it really be the end of the world? Let’s take a look at this oft-pondered question.

What is airplane mode?

When you set your phone to airplane mode, you are enabling the setting that prevents your device from receiving and sending text messages and phone calls. This configuration is also known as flight mode, standalone mode, and offline mode.

When your phone is not set to airplane mode, you are able to communicate with the outside world because your device is always looking for and using nearby cellular towers to receive or deliver your message. When you are 39,000 feet in the air, your phone will be using all of its power to find these towers, but it will obviously be unsuccessful.

When you set your phone to airplane mode, you can still access the apps that don’t use this type of service, including games, mp3 players, etc.

What happens when your plane is not in airplane mode?

If you refuse to follow directions and avoid turning on airplane mode, then your phone will continue looking for a signal that it will never get.

A side effect of this signal searching is that it creates interference with the plane’s onboard communications. Think of what happens when you place a mobile phone too close to an active speaker. It sometimes creates a static-y distortion sound that immediately irritates the ears.

When your phone is making these sounds, you won’t be able to hear it, but the sound can be heard by your pilot over his radio up in the cockpit. The sound won’t make the plane do backflips, but it can annoy the pilot while he is trying to hear all necessary commands from the tower.

It might not seem like a big deal, but imagine if 20 people decide to ignore the airplane mode request — that could be a lot of added static.

It is true that a lot of flights now offer Wi-Fi but planes with this service are equipped with onboard cell stations, and any static disturbance is at a minimum, leaving the pilots unaffected.

Could refusing to use airplane mode mode ever bring down a plane?

In a word, no. There have not been any instances of cell phones causing a plane crash, but the interference is at least minimally distracting to pilots.

Flying a plane is no laughing matter, and the task requires serious concentration, especially during takeoffs and landings, so it just comes down to the matter of human decency.

So next time you are on a plane, be less annoying by putting your phone on airplane mode.

Image Source: Creative Commons

How to Successfully Engage your Seatmate During Long Flights

-Originally published on The Mileage Club

When most of us get on a plane, we tend to listen to our music, read our magazines, etc. Basically, we do anything except speak to the person sitting next to us. While this is a perfectly adequate situation for most travelers, there may be some cases where you will actually want to strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger. This may be because talking with another may make the flight seem less miserable. Or maybe you are business or sales professional who is always looking to make that next big connection. Whatever the case, there are several ways that you can engage your seatmate with a minimum amount of awkwardness. Here are a few tips to consider.

Know when to engage and when not to

The first step in appropriately beginning a conversation with your seatmate is to be completely sure that your seatmate actually wants to be spoken to. Read their non-verbal cues. If the person sits down and immediately puts on their headphones or lays their head back and closes their eyes, it may be a sign that they are perfectly content being left alone. The last thing you would want to do, particularly on a long flight, is to irritate someone right off the bat, therefore making any further conversation a no-go.

Just be yourself, be relaxed

Regardless of why you have chosen to speak to your seatmate, just remember to be yourself and the conversation should go smoothly. If you are a business professional looking to meet a new client, follow the same tactics as you would with any individual you might meet at a sales conference or other business function. Asking what the other person does for a living is a perfectly acceptable; just don’t forget to keep the conversation about them. If you are just a person who likes to talk, start by saying “hello” and seeing where it goes. Finally, it may go without saying but stay away from topics that you wouldn’t discuss with any other stranger, those topics include religion, politics or anything you wouldn’t say to your mother.

Use some common conversation starters

Since you are sitting inches from your neighbor in an airtight chamber 39,000 feet in the air, you may think that there is not much to talk about. Think again. Air travel offers all types of openers that can help you to easily engage your seatmate. You could ask the person where they are flying. If it sounds like an exotic location, ask them if they are going on vacation. You could also start a conversation by asking if the other person flies often. If they do, ask them what they do for a living. In the end, it is a good idea to be easy going and open for conversation because you never know whom you might meet.


Best Vacation Spots for Big Families

-Originally published on The Mileage Club

It can be tough to go on vacation with a big family. Large groups can be more difficult to plan for, especially when it comes to booking a hotel, getting from here to there and the fact that everyone wants to do different activities. Luckily, there are several vacation spots that you can visit that are perfect for big families. Here are a few of the best vacation spots for your brood.

Go on a road trip

If you have a big family, you can turn one vacation spot into many with a fun family road trip. It doesn’t matter what country you live in, there is always a far-reaching road with tons of things to see and do wherever you are. What is great about a trip like this is that as you are driving along, you will see all sorts of fun attractions and beautiful landscapes, and with so much to see, there is bound to be something of interest for everyone in your large family.

For instance, during your long drive, you might see a museum or other educational spot for the high school student in your group. Older family members may just like to take in the many gorgeous landscapes and natural monuments along the way. There are many different quirky sights to see on a trip as well, such as the world’s biggest ball of twine or the rock that looks like a man’s face, which almost everyone in the family would enjoy.

Take a cruise

There really is nothing as exciting as traversing the wide open oceans of our planet, and there is no better way to do that then with a fun family cruise. A great one to choose is the highly rated Disney Cruise Line. Don’t be fooled by the Disney aspect, this cruise truly has everything you and your large family could want. Kids can enjoy the Disney characters while adults can partake in the bars and adult nightclubs aboard the ship. Finally, a Disney cruise liner comes equipped with activities that the whole family will enjoy, from large pools and deck parties to spas and live shows. 

Enjoy a ski trip

Since you’ve got your summers covered with a fun tropical cruise, where do you take your large family during the winter? As another of the best vacation spots for large families, a ski trip can offer activities for everyone from kids to adults. Anyone with the ability will surely enjoy skiing and there is always slopes fit for every skill level. Grandparents and others who may not feel comfortable skiing can enjoy the many other fun activities ski lodges offer such as snowshoe tours and ice-skating, and everyone can unwind at the end the day in a relaxing spa or hot tub.

There are tons of fun vacations you and your family can enjoy. Sometimes you need to make your own adventure so get out there and see the world!


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