Because electronic equipment may interfere with an aircraft’s system, all passengers are asked to turn off their electronic devices, especially cellular phones or anything else that connects to a wireless network when they fly. However, there is no certainty that these devices can actually cause any interference. This is the reason why there still are many carriers who allow use of personal electronics under 10,000 feet.
According to a recent report posted by Bloomberg, n iPhone may have caused interference with the flight equipment on a regional airliner, in 2011. It appears that because of a passenger who was using an iPhone, the plane was sent miles off its course as the compasses on the flight were behaving abnormally. The reason why the Apple device was blamed for the problem was because the timing of the moment where the problem was solved coincided with cellphone being turned off.
This is one of the many incidents that seem to have happened because of passenger electronics might have interfered with airplane systems. Despite the fact that pilot reports and scientific studies sustain the electronics as being able to cause problems, there are many people who continually complain about the excessive rules restricting the use of tablets, smartphones, laptops and other devices during flights.
As stated above, there are companies who believe using electronics under 10,000 feet should not create problems. One of the carriers who argued for relaxed rules is the well-known Delta Air Lines. However, even Delta declared that there have been encountered 27 suspected incidents of passenger electronics causing aircraft malfunctions from 2010 to 2012. Despite that declaration, Delta also stated that it prefers more electronics to be used because that is what its passengers wanted.
Due to all the differences between airlines rules and the great number of opinions, the Federal Aviation Administration finds it hard to decide on the regulations, but the main plan is to announce a rule change by the end of the year.
However, it is well-known that all iOS devices have a feature called “airplane mode” turns off all of the wireless radios inside the hardware, although this feature can have different meaning across the devices. This is the reason why it seems difficult for the Federal Aviation Administration to develop a standard set of rules that can apply on all the devices.