Connect with us

Business

Phuket Business: Interfering with the navigation systems

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Your aircraft has just landed at Phuket International Airport and out comes the ubiquitous mobile phone, despite the flight crew asking you to keep it switched off until the plane arrives at the gate, because of concerns it may interfere with the aircraft’s avionics, thus endangering all on board.

A familiar scene to everyone arriving on Phuket and particularly in Asia where the leap to connect to the outside world after an hour [such as Bangkok to Phuket], or several hours of enforced non-texting and conversation seems to be an overwhelming urge of life saving proportions.

Dozens of cell phones inevitably light up before the planes has finished taxiing to the gate at Phuket Airport.

Well you ain’t seen nothing yet because the inevitable has arrived – not yet in Thailand – but it will come eventually because of competitive forces.

Mobile phone conversations in flight are feasible, legal and are being introduced by some airlines.

Virgin Atlantic announced in May it will allow inflight personal phone calls, following other airlines such as Malaysia, Emirates and Oman Air.

European airlines like British Airways and Lufthansa are already well down the track.

THAI Airways has not yet announced if it will follow suit, but with the imminent arrival into its fleet of the giant Airbus A380 and the expectations of first and business class passengers on the A380 and on other new aircraft on order, it seems inevitable that THAI will eventually allow inflight calls, if only to remain competitive.

Of course this “advance” in technology and customer service will not be welcomed by all and sundry.

You can imagine some of the conversations: “Do they speak English in Thailand?”, “Kim Kardashian is dating/marrying/divorcing who?”, “This guy I am sitting next to is so creepy and gross. I think he’s recording my conversation.” And so on.

How is this now possible? In short the creation of shielded mini-networks, or picocells, installed in the cabin above the heads of passengers have mitigated concerns over mobile phone use in flight because the calls go over a protected network and do not go bounding off multiple phone towers on the ground.

The picocells act as tiny GPRS cell towers on the plane. Because they are so close to the passengers, mobile phones will only have to emit relatively modest signals because they won’t have to work as hard to secure a network “handshake.” This helps ease concerns over interference with aircraft navigational equipment.

The European Union gave permission to do inflight mobile calls in 2008, but a combination of factors, such as objections from other passengers, the expense of incurring international roaming charges and lingering concerns about safety all held the airlines back, and still do in many cases.

American authorities, for example, still ban such calls.

Theoretically, before the introduction of picocells, electromagnetic interference of the aircraft systems was the most common argument against using electronic devices on planes, such as mobile phones, small walkie-talkies or even radio-controlled toys.

However, many aviation experts have long decried this theory. In fact Boeing, one of the two largest airline manufacturers, undertook a test in response to reports by flight crews that they detected “anomalies” caused by electronic devices. Boeing found there was no “definite correlation between electronic devices and the associated reported airplane anomalies.”

Despite the availability of inflight mobile phone calls, use of them is not likely to be widespread, at least not in the short term until the high cost of making a call comes down.

As one commentator said: “The chances are slim you’ll be stuck with someone blabbing away on your next flight. Unless, of course, you are sitting next to someone with a story to tell and money to burn.”

— Alastair Carthew

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Indonesia6 hours ago

Man with Covid-19 disguised as his wife to board flight

Hua Hin8 hours ago

Kitchen raiding elephant breaks same wall in house for more food

Thailand9 hours ago

1st Taekwondo Olympic gold as Panipak wins for Thailand

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)10 hours ago

AstraZeneca Thailand writes open letter to people of Thailand

Koh Samui14 hours ago

Surat Thani announces new Covid-19 measures for Samui Plus

Thailand17 hours ago

His Majesty the King donates 2.8 billion baht in Covid-19 aid

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Coronavirus (Covid-19)18 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Provinces: 14,260 new infections, 119 deaths

Coronavirus (Covid-19)18 hours ago

Vaccination registration open for foreign residents over 60 in Bangkok

Coronavirus (Covid-19)20 hours ago

Autopsy results for woman who died after mixing vaccines

Coronavirus (Covid-19)1 day ago

Covid UPDATE Saturday: 14,260 new infections, news briefs

Thailand1 day ago

Department head predicts Covid-19 could last up to another year

World1 day ago

Swedish prison hostage situation resolved with pizza

Thailand1 day ago

Minister: Foreigners, migrant workers are cared for amid Covid-19

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 days ago

“Withhold Intubation” for certain older Thammasat Hospital patients

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 days ago

Bang Sue vaccination centre open for expats 60+, under must wait

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending