The real reason to call crew if your phone falls between plane seats

For the most part, it’s a safe assumption most of us have the same train of thought when cabin crew instruct you not to pick up your phone when it slips in between seats on a plane.

And it’s in case your arm or hand gets stuck down there, right? Hoo boy, actually – turns out, that’s wrong.

You see, a recent article from Pedestrian.TV explored why airlines like Qantas and Virgin Australia have started adding lines like ‘If your phone drops between seats, don’t try to retrieve it, but call cabin crew immediately”.

And turns out, it’s because…wait for it… it might combust or blow up on your pretty little hand.

tenor (10)


According to PTV, this has legit happened on planes, where people have accidentally dropped their phone in between seats, and then just moved their seat around so they can reach down and grab it. Except on some occasions, they’ve wound up mistakenly crushing their phone while adjusting the seat, resulting in the phone “spontaneously combusting”.

Basically, the lithium battery in the phone gets crushed, which causes it to become hot – smouldering even – and eventually catches on fire.

The pop culture publication spoke to an expert on the topic, Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s Corporate Communications Manager, Peter Gibson, who confirmed that this is the reason for the safety message.

He told PTV, “Yep, that’s right. All about stopping phones being crushed accidentally and catching on fire.”

Gibson also added, “It’s happened a few times around the world. It’s happened in Australia, and the person who’s done it has immediately called cabin crew.

“In one case, they picked up the phone with tongs and dumped it in a sink full of water. In another case, they got out the fire extinguisher and gave it a blast.”

And what do you know, even the Australian Government has gotten involved in the serious safety issue, creating this little video to explain it better. Click the link to watch the full safety warning clip or suss out the specific phone issue below: