Why you should use flight mode

That announcement you hear when you’re seated and belted up on board before take-off may have more benefits than just your safety.

That’s what one unsuspecting passenger learnt when he returned from a holiday to a massive mobile phone bill.

He’d packed his phone away in the overhead compartment, forgetting to either switch it off or turn on aeroplane mode, and was hit by hefty roaming charges, The Sun reports.

He learnt the hard way that if you don’t switch to aeroplane mode, your phone may automatically connect to the aircraft’s antenna which, in turn, connects to roaming networks, often via satellite, which is much more expensive than land-based networks. It also automatically downloaded data that took him beyond his international roaming plan.

The unnamed passenger hence came home to $400 in roaming charges.

While not all airlines allow devices to automatically connect to the plane’s in-flight roaming network without them opting in, some do, as was the case on this Aer Lingus plane.

The same thing can happen to you at sea. If you’re cruising and don’t need your phone, you’re best to switch to aeroplane mode, or risk copping huge roaming fees from connecting to a ship’s mobile network, which is also operated via satellite.

Have you ever returned to a massive phone bill for connections and data you were unaware of making or using? Do you always switch your phone to aeroplane mode when flying or cruising?

Related articles:
Should I turn off my tech?
How to beat roaming charges
Europe ends roaming charges

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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