Flight crash due to cell phone?

Can you bring down a plane with a cell phone?

This myth still haunts our minds: if we don't turn off our cell phones on board, we automatically disrupt the electronics and crash the plane. But is that true? We have investigated.

Flugmodus Absturzgefahr

The facts about using a cell phone on board an aircraft

Flight attendants point out before take-off that electronic devices must be switched to so-called flight mode during the journey. This is a safety measure, but what happens if you defy it? Is the aircraft then at risk of crashing?

We can answer this quite simply: no, the plane will not crash because of this. Nevertheless, cell phones that are switched on can cause unwanted incidents. The radio waves from the cell phones can cause unpleasant noise in the pilots' headphones. Similar to when a cell phone gets too close to a loudspeaker. These noises are not only annoying, but also cause pilots to miss important radio messages from air traffic controllers in an emergency.
But don't worry: this kind of interference can only be caused by cell phones that are close to the cockpit, i.e. in the first rows of seats. Moreover, they are more likely to occur only at lower altitudes, namely where GSM connectivity is still available. This applies to low-cost airlines just as much as to premium airlines.

So why switch to Flight Mode anyway?

Even if airplanes don't crash because of cell phones that are on, passengers are still urged to put them in flight mode or turn them off completely. But why actually? Well, there's a simple reason for this: airlines want to prevent people from making phone calls on board. This protects the nerves of the other passengers and also the staff.

However, there are also devices that emit weak signals and are also carried in the suitcase. Meanwhile, it is allowed to carry an airtag in the suitcase so that you can determine the position of the luggage with your smartphone. A practical gadget when traveling.

Can it be dangerous not to put your cell phone in airplane flight mode?

There is no risk of crashing, not putting the cell phone in flight mode during a flight. Flight mode is a function used to disable the phone's radio communications to avoid interference to the aircraft navigation system. In any case, it is not dangerous to leave the phone on during flight and use it in normal operating mode as long as it is set to Flight Mode or "Airplane Mode".

However, some airlines may prohibit the use of cell phones during flight, regardless of safety concerns, such as for passenger safety reasons or to avoid disruption to other passengers. It is important to follow the instructions of the airline and flight personnel.

Has a plane ever crashed because a passenger didn't put their phone in flight mode?

It has never happened that an aircraft crashed due to the use of electronic devices such as cell phones. The feature is designed to prevent interference to the aircraft navigation system, but it is not required to ensure the safety of the flight or the devices on board.

However, most airlines require that electronic devices be set to flight mode or "airplane mode" during flight to disable the device's radio communications and avoid potential interference to other passengers.


As long as passengers are asked to activate flight mode on their cell phones during the flight, they should comply. If you forget to do this, the plane will still not crash. However, everyone present would certainly be pleased if you refrained from using your phone despite everything.

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Frequently asked questions

Can a cell phone bring down a plane?
No! Nevertheless, problematic incidents can occur when cell phones are switched on. The radio waves emitted by the cell phone may well cause unpleasant noise in the pilots' headphones used for communication.