Air Travel Tip Of The Week (2)

There are some things that are just worth knowing and storing in the deeper recesses of your mind until you need it. What do you do when you are on an aeroplane and drop your phone down the side of the seat?

The temptation is to start fishing around for it, although in many tightly packed cabins it requires the skill of a contortionist to retrieve it. There is a hidden danger if you try this in that if you move the seat’s mechanism, the phone and, more importantly, its lithium battery could be damaged and start overheating and cause a fire.

This happens more times than you care to think with potentially disastrous consequences. In 2018 on a Qantas flight to Melbourne a man dropped his phone down the side of his seat and tried to retrieve it, damaging it in the process and causing it to smoulder. The fire developed and the pilot had to divert to Sydney where the crew used extinguishers to put it out.

Again in 2018 a similar incident on a Ryanair flight led to passengers having to make a speedy evacuation via the emergency chutes and in August 2021 a mobile phone fire lead to the evacuation of an Air Alaska flight.

The advice is if you lose your phone down the side of the seat, call the air stewards, by using the call button, obviously. We live and learn.

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