Phone ban on planes doesn't work, survey shows

Despite rules requiring US flyers to turn off their phones and other electronic devices, many people leave them on, a survey shows.

The survey released by the Airline Passenger Experience Association and the Consumer Electronics Association on Thursday suggests US regulators could ease the ban, which assumes that electronic devices could interfere with navigation equipment.

The survey found 30 per cent of passengers accidentally left an electronic device turned on during a flight, even though they are required to turn them off during takeoff and landing.

When asked to turn off the devices, 59 per cent said they always turn their devices completely off, 21 per cent of passengers said they switch their devices to "airplane mode," and five per cent say they sometimes turn their devices completely off.

Of those passengers who accidentally left a portable device turned on in-flight, 61 per cent said it was a smartphone.

Last year, the head of the US agency that regulates telecommunications called for an easing of the ban on using mobile phones and other electronic devices on airplanes.

The Federal Aviation Administration has begun a review of the rules.

The Federal Communications Commission studied the question several years ago but found insufficient evidence to support lifting the ban at the time.

There have been several high profile incidents on flights involving passengers failing to switch off their phones. In December 2011, actor Alec Baldwin made headlines after he was ordered off an American Airlines flight for refusing to switch off his smartphone.

The FAA has said in the past that there are "too many unknowns" about radio signals that mobile electronic devices give off. While some have said more research is needed, others have questioned why millions should be spent on research when passengers can just switch off for a short period of time.