Can you use your phone on a plane? Until a few years ago, passengers were told to turn their phones off during flights. Airline rules are different now and they’re constantly changing. If you’re still not entirely sure about the dos and don’ts on mobile phones and airplanes, here are the facts you should know before hopping on your next flight.
Phone Use is Allowed, But Limited
For now, phone use is only allowed if you put your mobile phones and other gadgets with a cellular connection on airplane mode. This means that passengers can play games, read e-books, listen to podcasts, take pictures, and more while flying across the skies, provided that the cellular connection of the device isn’t being used.
Airplane Mode is Still Required Due to Potential Cellular Interference
What is airplane mode? Airplane mode or flight mode is a setting that lets you suspend the radio-frequency signal transmission of a device. Basically, it turns off the cellular, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi connections of your phone, tablet, laptop, or other gadgets. Passengers are now allowed to turn on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth while a device is on Airplane mode, but make sure the cellular connection is still inactivated.
It’s a hassle to be cut off from family and friends on the ground, especially on long-haul flights, but airlines have a good reason. When the wireless connections of mobile phones, tablets, and other gadgets are turned on, it’s possible for it to interfere with the plane’s own communication systems across radio waves.
Testing and time have shown that forgetting to put a Kindle or smartwatch on Airplane mode during a flight probably isn’t the end of the world, but all passengers all using their cellular connections at the same time may be a different story. Plus, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Some Airlines Offer Inflight Wi-Fi
Long haul flights are a part of a traveler’s life, but they can be incredibly tedious and boring. Luckily, inflight entertainment has improved exponentially in the past decade or so. Now, some airlines offer inflight Wi-Fi or free messaging on apps like Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, and Viber.
Take note that not all airlines offer this perk and most shorter domestic flights do not. If Wi-Fi is important to you, check whether your airline and plane are equipped with it prior to booking your flight.
Chatting on the Phone isn’t Allowed in Every Airline
When Wi-Fi is available, messaging is free for all. However, voice calls aren’t always allowed. Each airline has a different rule regarding calls, so it’s best to check before engaging in a conversation with a family member or friend.
Regardless of the rules, try to keep your voice down when talking on the phone. Remember, some passengers enjoy air travel because of the peace and quiet it affords. Respect your fellow passengers and try to be as small of a bother as possible.
Keep Airplane Etiquette in Mind
On that note, it’s truly important to be mindful and considerate of other passengers on the flight with you. With so many people cramped in such a small space, the phone habits of one passenger can so easily affect the others.
For instance, if you’re listening to music, podcast, or any audio file on a plane, make sure you slip on headphones for it, instead of broadcasting it for the whole plane to hear. Just like talking on the phone too loudly, it disturbs the peace and quiet inside the plane. Playing mobile games with sound effects also has the same effect.
The bright screens of phones and tablets when the lights are dimmed during night flights are another big annoyance to passengers trying to sleep. Remember, you’re not the only one trying to get through this flight, so let them be and enjoy your entertainment in privacy.
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*Featured image via ImYanis on Shutterstock