Everyone knows that you have to put your phone into airplane mode before taking off on a flight so it doesn’t interfere with the pilots’ communication, but it turns out there is something else that makes your phone far more dangerous – and it is all about where you place it on the aircraft.
Experts are warning that if you keep your phone between plane seats, you are endangering yourself and the lives of everyone on the flight. Air travel expert Alex Miller told The Sun that doing so could cause your phone to overheat, turning it into a fire hazard. Additionally, if you adjust your position while the phone is between seats, you risk crushing the phone’s lithium battery, which could also start a fire.
It’s already happened a few times – in fact, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, as of December 2021, there have been 346 reports of air travel incidents involving smoke, fire, extreme heat and even explosion due to lithium batteries.
Among them was when a man’s phone caught on fire on a United Airlines flight after falling in between the seats, and the time a flight attendant had to retrieve a passenger’s smoking phone from between the seats.
If you think it’s unlikely to happen to you, often times the phone can wind up between seats accidentally. Pilot Patrick Smith said, “If you’re in an electrically controlled lie-flat seat, of the type common in first or business class, there are a number of nooks and crannies into which your phone can slip — beyond your reach and down into the mechanisms that control the seat’s various positions.”
So what can you do? Just don’t keep your phone anywhere it can slip or fall between seats. Ideally, always have it in your hands or somewhere else protected, especially during take-off, landing and turbulence to prevent it from slipping. In case it does wind up between the seats, let the flight attendant know immediately.