What's the big deal with cell phones on planes?

GENERIC: Airplane, Plane, cell phone

On this holiday weekend, more Americans are taking to the sky to get from here to there. As many as 3 million passengers are flying this weekend, that's up 9-percent from last year.

For those who fly, this an all-too-familiar drill: Being told to turn off your cell phone before the plane takes off. CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports that your cell phone, e-book, and iPod may really be a flight risk.

The Federal Aviation Administration says there's a chance of electromagnetic interference with a plane's navigational system.

"There's a very low probability that any single device would interfere with the navigation equipment, but because there is that potential, the FAA has decided it was better to prohibit all these devices," says Douglas Moss, a general aviation pilot.

How can something that big, that sophisticated, be undone by something as small as a Blackberry? Well, the data is limited and the evidence all anecdotal.

In 2003, a plane crash in New Zealand killed eight people. Investigators said the pilot's operating cell phone "might have caused erroneous (navigational) indications."

Since 2000, there have been 10 reports in the U.S. of mid-air problems linked to passenger's electronics.

When CBS News turned on a cell phone and Blackberry in Doug Moss' cockpit, there was an indication that there was a little interference.

The bigger problem, however, are the non-complying passengers.

"We get reports from flight attendants every day from just about every flight," says Veda Shook with the Association of Flight Attendants.

Technology might be changing all that. Electronics maker Aircell has installed its secure, in-flight wireless system, GoGo, in almost one out of three planes. In the last month of last year, 2 million passengers safely went online up in the air.

Foreign carriers like Emirates Air now have secure systems for in flight cell phone use.

Those in the aviation industry say we should be careful what we wish for. What do they think about having all passengers on phones all the time?

"An absolutely horrible idea!" says Shook.

And there's be no way to fly away from it all.