Home Travel Why You Should Tell Flight Attendant Of Dropped Phone In Plane Seat

Why You Should Tell Flight Attendant Of Dropped Phone In Plane Seat

by SharonKurheg

In 2013, the FAA released new guidelines that allowed the use of portable electronic devices during all stages of flight. Larger electronics, like laptop computers, still need to be put away during takeoff and landing. However smaller devices, such as cell phones, could still be used, provided they were in airplane mode.

Fast forward a few years and there was a new addition to flight attendants’ spiel: if you lose your cell phone in your seat, tell a flight attendant and don’t try to retrieve it yourself.

What’s up with that?

Turns out, it’s because of the risk of the phone’s battery going on fire.

Perfect example: In September 2018, a Qantas flight was on its way from Los Angeles to Melbourne. About 2 hours before landing, a business class passenger dropped his cell phone, which fell into the seat. While trying to retrieve the phone, it was crushed and started smoldering. Flight attendants got the fire extinguishers and the flight crew considered a diversion to Sydney. Fortunately, the flight attendants brought the situation under control and secured the (no longer) smartphone. The flight continued to Melbourne for a safe landing without further incident.

Phone batteries are, of course, lithium. And when lithium batteries are compressed, such as when they’re suddenly squashed between the mechanics of an airplane seat, they can overheat and catch on fire.

Better to ask a flight attendant, who will have a better idea of how to retrieve your lost phone safely, than to risk setting your phone (and perhaps the plane with it) on fire.

Feature Photo: Pixabay

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1 comment

Jacob December 15, 2021 - 5:36 pm

I had this experience once: It was my first time flying BA First Class. I got the window seat that I wanted and was really looking forward to this flight. Right after boarding, when the stewardess was offering me a drink, I accidentally knocked my cell phone (Which was on the small table and it fell between the seat and the wall). The stewardess then told me that I could no longer sit there and had to move to a lousy aisle seat. They said they will try to get it for me once we reached our destination. It totally ruined the flight for me. I was pissed. Once we landed, the co-pilot came up to me and said that he might be able to retrieve it for me because there was a small communications equipment room under my seat and he would go there to see if he could find it. In the mean time I had to disembark and was not allowed to stay on the plane. Thankfully once I got through immigration the co-pilot showed up and handed me my phone. Sure enough it had fallen down to the compartment below my seat. So since then, the first thing I always do when I sit down is to check to see if there are any gaps through which my phone or anything else could fall in to.


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