5 Things to Know About In-flight Phone Usage


In today’s connected world, staying online and reachable is not just a convenience but a necessity for many. This extends to air travel, where the demand for continuous connectivity has led to significant changes to in-flight phone usage policies. Whether you’re a frequent flyer or preparing for your annual vacation, understanding the nuances of using your phone while flying is crucial. This article delves into in-flight phone usage, touching on international roaming essentials and how to activate international roaming when travelling far away from home.

1. In-flight Wi-Fi Availability

The first thing to note is the increasing availability of in-flight Wi-Fi services across major airlines. This advancement allows passengers to use their smartphones, tablets, and laptops at cruising altitudes, offering everything from basic internet access to streaming capabilities. However, it’s essential to check with your airline before flying, as services vary in availability, speed, and cost. Some airlines offer complimentary Wi-Fi for all passengers, while others may charge a fee, particularly for high-speed connections suitable for streaming.

2. Airplane Mode Requirement

Despite the advancements in in-flight connectivity, the requirement to keep your phone in airplane mode during flights remains a standard safety protocol. Airplane mode disables your device’s cellular connections, preventing interference with aircraft communications and navigation systems. However, you can still connect to the aircraft’s Wi-Fi network while in airplane mode, allowing you to browse the internet, check emails, and even send instant messages.

3. Making Calls and Texting

Traditionally, making voice calls during flights has been restricted, primarily due to concerns about interference and the potential for creating a noisy environment. However, some international carriers have started to offer services that enable voice calls and texting via Wi-Fi. These services typically use VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology, allowing passengers to make calls and send texts as if they were connected to a standard mobile network. Before using these services, it’s prudent to consider the social etiquette and privacy of fellow passengers.

4. The Cost of Connectivity

While in-flight Wi-Fi is a game-changer for staying connected, it’s important to be mindful of the costs associated, especially when using data-heavy applications. For travellers with international roaming plans, it’s crucial to understand how these plans interact with in-flight services. Some roaming packages include in-flight Wi-Fi at no extra charge, while others might incur additional fees. Always check the terms of your international roaming plan before using in-flight Wi-Fi to avoid unexpected charges on your bill.

5. Using International Roaming Wisely

For travellers looking to stay connected seamlessly from takeoff to landing, understanding how to activate international roaming and the associated costs is essential. International roaming allows your phone to connect to foreign networks, enabling you to use your mobile data, make calls, and send texts abroad. However, roaming charges can be exorbitant, making it necessary to choose the right plan.

In-flight phone usage has evolved significantly, with airlines and mobile service providers working to meet passengers’ demands for continuous connectivity. From understanding the availability and etiquette of in-flight Wi-Fi to managing the costs associated with staying online, travellers today have more options than ever. For Airtel users, the convenience of an Airtel flight pack offers a seamless way to stay connected, both in the air and on the ground abroad. You can purchase Airtel’s in-flight packs via the Airtel Thanks app, by visiting the International Roaming section in the app, entering the details and choosing the relevant pack. Another method is through the Airtel IR website.

Also, if you’re an Airtel Prepaid or a Postpaid user, to access Airtel in-flight services, you need to recharge or opt for in-flight packs before onboarding the flight.

Once you are on flight and receive the crew confirmation to use mobile phones, follow below mentioned steps:

1 Switch on your phone, and make sure that your Flight mode is off

2 Your phone will automatically connect to the AeroMobile network

3 If your phone does not connect to the AeroMobile network automatically, go to phone settings and manually select AeroMobile

4 To use data services, you will need to switch on the Data Roaming.

By preparing ahead and selecting the right flight or international roaming services, you can ensure a connected, productive, and enjoyable travel experience without the fear of returning home to exorbitant phone bills. Remember, the key to leveraging in-flight phone usage and international roaming effectively lies in understanding the services available to you and making informed choices based on your connectivity needs.

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