Of course I am not sure if I believe it or not. Last night a flight attendant did do something unusual. When admonishing a passenger for not turning off his phone she explained that mobile phones are operative to about 10,000 feet.
When a passenger is on a mobile phone control tower instructions in their headphones are accompanied by a high pitched noise. Apparently this is not bad if one person is on the phone but if there are a plane full of people the cacophony in the pilot’s headset makes it difficult to communicate with the control tower.
This sounded strangely plausible to me. But what was best was the flight attendant’s willingness to lift the curtain a bit and let passengers (i.e. customers) in on what should not be a secret.
Why have I never heard this before? I know that should it be true (and I have no reason to doubt it but somehow do anyway) I would not want the pilot of the plane I was flying on having noise and consequently an inability to hear instructions from the people who are watching little blips on the screen all day.
Airlines are hardly specialists in communicating with their customers. On countless occasions reasons for delays go unreported or worse when you get information it’s something like – ‘ATC has put a hold on air traffic so we have to wait to hear back from them before we can take off. Thanks for your patience.’ Then they offer no communication (or water or food) often for an hour or more! This is how mutinies are born!
So to have an explanation for something that we all have been thinking about for a long time (or at least I have) was refreshing and I can go with it. For now. I still cannot figure out why or how an Ipod or headphones would interfere with communications so maybe that will be explained on my next flight. But I am not counting on that.