Right now, invisible signals are flying through the air all around you. Massive radio waves carry information between computers, GPS systems, cell phones, and more. And the sky is flooded with interference from routers, satellites, and, of course, people flying who haven’t put their phones on airplane mode
While airplane mode certainly gives everyone on the plane a reprieve from loud phone conversations, the real reason for turning off has to do with the radio signals an active phone puts out and how these wavelengths interfere with crucial incoming flight information.
You see, this setting isn’t to protect your flight, it’s to protect everyone else in your flight path. Cell phones connect to networks by emitting information in the form of electromagnetic waves; specifically, radio waves, which occupy this band of the electromagnetic spectrum. …So when you fly without using airplane mode, you’re essentially acting as a military radio jammer— sending out giant radio waves that interfere with nearby signals.