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If you’re ever on an aeroplane and you accidentally drop your phone down the side of the seat, if you can’t immediately grab it and get it back, you should make sure that you slam that bell button above your head and get the cabin crew along, and there’s a very good reason for that.
You see, if you drop your phone and the lithium battery inside it gets compressed, it can heat up and start a fire, which – obviously – would be an absolutely awful thing to happen to a plane, either on the floor or in the air.
This isn’t just a piece of wild speculation, either.
There have been instances in the recent past where exactly this has happened, which has led one major country’s aviation body to make a comment on it directly.
The incident we’re talking about happened in 2018, when a passenger on a Qantas flight to Melbourne dropped his phone down the side of his chair.
He attempted to fish it out, but whilst he was doing so it started smouldering and setting alight.
Sadly, the situation continued to escalate to the point where the pilot of the aircraft was forced to divert the whole thing to Sydney.
The crew then had to put out the burgeoning blaze with fire extinguishers.
See? It’s not that difficult.
Now, passengers are asked to get hold of the nearest flight attendant, or call them straight away, if they drop their phone down the side of their seat.
Before this incident from 2018 even happened, the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority had released a statement warning of the dangers.
That statement said: “Smartphones can fall into aircraft seat mechanisms and be crushed when the seat is moved.
“This can result in damage to the phone’s lithium battery which can cause overheating and fire.
“Passengers must remember never to move their seat if a phone goes missing while in-flight and to always ask the aircraft cabin crew for assistance.
“If a phone is damaged cabin crew should be alerted immediately.”
It seems as if this is more of a thing than we might at first imagine.
Just in August 2021, a mobile phone fire caused an Alaska Airlines flight to be evacuated, and in July 2018 a similar incident led to Ryanair passengers being asked to use an emergency chute to get off the plane.
So, it bears repeating once again, if you drop your phone down the seat, please just call the flight crew.
It’s definitely less hassle than the alternative.
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