All modern-day phones are equipped with flight mode, which flight attendants politely remind us to switch to before a plane takes off. But some airlines allow the use of certain smartphone functions even when the plane is in the air. Here’s how to know when and how you can use your phone during a flight.
Switch to airplane mode: Phone antennae can communicate with plane systems, which can cause the phone to use massive amounts of data. Turning on airplane mode can prevent you from facing an unwelcome surprise on your next cell phone bill.
With WiFi: If your flight happens to offer either free or paid WiFi connections, keep your phone in airplane mode but switch on your WiFi to connect to the network. Connecting to WiFi means you can use apps that rely on the connection, such as WhatsApp or iMessage, but you won’t be able to send regular SMS text messages.
Stay charged: Newer airplanes may be equipped with power outlets at each seat. If you’re flying internationally, remember you may be faced with an outlet incompatible with your plugs. Check the layout of your plane on SeatGuru.com to confirm whether you’ll have access to a USB outlet or a standard power outlet, if at all. You also may want to bring your own portable power bank, just in case.
Download before your flight: If you plan to pass the time with podcasts and Netflix, download as much content as you can before the flight so you’re not relying on poor internet connections to download huge files.
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