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Revealed: The worst things we do with our phones while flying

Smartphone etiquette can be sorely lacking in the air, and a new survey from AT&T has revealed some key figures in this regard.

Published onJuly 10, 2019

A new study has revealed the most annoying smartphone habits in the air.

If you’ve ever been on a flight, you’ll notice that smartphone etiquette can be lacking among fellow passengers. Now, a new survey by has given us a few interesting figures behind these annoying habits.

The survey of 1,000 Americans found that one out of 15 passengers don’t turn off their phone or put it in airplane mode when asked by a flight attendant.

More specifically, 67 percent of respondents turn off their phone when asked, while 27 percent don’t turn off their phones but put it in flight mode. The remaining six percent of respondents (equivalent to one in 15) didn’t turn off their phone or put it in airplane mode. The study also found that males were almost twice as likely to ignore these instructions.

As for perceptions of airplane mode, 83 percent of respondents turn off their phones because they worry it’ll negatively affect the flight. Meanwhile, 13 percent of people surveyed felt that their phones don’t have any negative effect on the flight at all.

A snippet from a flight survey by AT&T. also asked a pilot to clarify whether airplane mode makes a difference on a flight, with the pilot noting that phones can and do interfere with communications between the ground and the air. The pilot said that a few phones not in airplane mode wouldn’t be an issue, but many devices not in this mode can cause problems.

Read: Surprise! Many Americans don’t know what phone they own, think it has 5G

The survey also uncovered the most annoying smartphone habits on commercial flights, with 83 percent of users decrying passengers playing music/videos/games without earphones. This was followed by using a bright screen when the cabin lights are off (64 percent), and talking on the phone when grounded (63 percent).

A flight survey by AT&T.

51 percent of respondents say people who play content on their phones without headphones should be fined or have their device confiscated. By comparison, over 60 percent of users say there shouldn’t be any consequences for using a bright screen during lights out or talking when grounded.

Which smartphone habits annoy you most when you’re flying? Drop us a comment down below!

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