Can You Text On An Airplane?

Is Texting Permitted on Flights?

Most airlines allow passengers to use their phones during flights, but you might want to consider turning yours off. In fact, it’s best practice to turn off your device completely. If you do decide to text while flying, make sure to keep it short and sweet. You don’t want to end up being fined for texting too much.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says that cell phones must remain powered down during takeoffs and landings. However, most airlines offer free in-flight Internet access, allowing passengers to check emails, surf the web, stream movies and play games.

If you’re travelling domestically, you can probably count on getting some sort of signal. But if you’re heading abroad, you may find yourself out of luck.

While many countries allow cellphone usage on planes, others prohibit it altogether. For example, China prohibits mobile devices from being used during flights, even if they are turned off.

Can I Use My Phone On The Plane?

In recent years, we've seen a lot of changes in how people travel. For example, travellers no longer book flights online; instead, they download apps like Kayak or Skyscanner to find deals.

They don't check bags anymore either -- they just buy tickets and go straight to the airport. And while some people still prefer to print out boarding passes, others simply scan their passports into their phones.

But one thing hasn't changed much over the years: the way people connect to the Internet. Most people still rely on cellular data plans to access the web, even though it's becoming increasingly expensive.

But what happens when you're flying and your connection drops? Can you still access the Internet? If you want to know the answer, keep reading.

Can I Make A Call On A Flight?

Voice calls are allowed on most domestic flights. But some passengers say they would rather chat than text or browse the web. And there haven't been any major issues since cell phones became popular in the early 2000s.

The Federal Aviation Administration says it doesn't regulate how airlines handle voice calls. "We don't tell them what to do," FAA spokesman Ian Gregor told "They're free to decide."

But some people aren't happy about being forced to listen to others' conversations.

Airlines typically charge $5-$10 per person for a phone call. On Southwest Airlines, for example, you pay $9.95 per passenger.

Some passengers say they'd rather just use their devices for entertainment. Others say they want to keep up with family members or friends who live far away.

In addition, some travellers say they feel uncomfortable talking on the phone because they worry about eavesdropping.

There haven't been any major incidents reported since cell phones became common in the early 2000s, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Why Shouldn't We Take Airplane Mode For Granted?

Airplane Mode is one of those things that most people don’t think about much anymore. But it’s actually incredibly important. In fact, I’d argue that aeroplane mode is something that every traveller should know how to use.

In today’s world, there are many reasons why aeroplane mode is essential. For example, if you’re trying to save battery life, turning off data roaming helps keep your phone from draining power unnecessarily.

If you’re trying not to miss out on anything important, aeroplane mode keeps you up to date without having to worry about being interrupted.

And finally, if you’ve ever been stuck in a plane that lost cabin pressure, aeroplane mode prevents you from accidentally pressing buttons that could cause damage to your electronics.

But even though aeroplane mode is helpful, it’s easy to forget about it. So let me give you some tips on how to make sure you always have access to it.

Turn Off Data Roaming

If you’re planning to travel internationally, chances are you’ll be connecting to different networks. This means that your phone might connect to a different carrier’s network depending on where you go.

For example, if you‘re travelling to Japan, you’ll probably be connected to Japanese carriers like KDDI and SoftBank. However, if you’ll be travelling to China, you’ll likely be connected to Chinese carriers such as China Mobile and China Unicom.

When you’re abroad, your phone will automatically switch over to whichever carrier’s network it connects to. This means that if you’re browsing the web, downloading apps, or checking email, you won’t notice any difference.

Major Airlines Offering Complimentary Messaging And Wi-fi

Nok Air

Nok Air offers a complimentary Wi-Fi network and instant messages. Being a budget airline it provides passengers with SMS texts and the Aircraft's Wi-Fi.

Norwegian Air

Free WiFi is included on most of Norwegian Air’s flights. There are different levels of Wi-Fi available depending on the flight you choose. Premium WiFi costs extra.


Qantas Airways Ltd., Australia’s largest airline, announced it will offer free Wi-Fi access on all domestic flights starting next month. The move follows similar announcements by Virgin Australia Holdings Pty Ltd. and Jetstar Airways Ltd.

The announcement came during Qantas’ annual general meeting in Sydney on Thursday. CEO Alan Joyce told shareholders that the carrier plans to roll out free Wi-Fi across its entire fleet by mid-2022.

He added that the carrier aims to make the service available on every flight within five years.

Joyce said that Qantas is working with technology partners including Cisco Systems Inc. and Ericsson AB to develop the system.

He noted that the carrier already offers free Wi-Fi access to passengers on international routes.

Major Airlines That Offer Free Texting Via Messaging Apps

Free WiFi is now standard on most major airline flights. So why do you still have to pay for it? Well, there are some exceptions. For example, Southwest Airlines doesn’t offer free WiFi, nor does JetBlue.

But Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Virgin America and Frontier Airlines do. And while you won’t find free WiFi on international flights, many domestic carriers do provide it.

Texting is another perk that’s often overlooked. Many airlines include unlimited text messaging within the price of your ticket.

This includes both incoming and outgoing texts. If you want to send someone a picture of your kid, or just tell them how much fun you had at the airport, you can do that without paying anything extra.

And finally, there’s no charge for calling home. Most airlines allow you to make calls anywhere in the world for free. Some even let you call multiple destinations at once.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines provides an Airplane Wi-Fi connection. Passengers go to Alaska's Wi-Fi portal to avail of the service. 

Delta Air Lines

Free messaging is available on Delta flight routes. Passengers can now send free texts via Delta Wi-Fi. And finally, there is a way to pay for WiFi if you do not wish to use Delta Wi-Fi.

Major Airlines Where Text Messaging Is Expensive

United Airlines

There are many things you can do while flying United Airlines. For example, you can use your phone to text friends and family members. Or you can watch movies or TV shows on your laptop. And there’s even Wi-Fi onboard. But there’s one thing you can’t do: send texts for free.

That’s because United doesn’t offer free messaging on its flights. Instead, it charges customers per message sent and received. So if you want to talk to someone on board, you’ll have to pay up.

In fact, United charges about $0.05 per SMS message sent and received. That adds up quickly. If you’re sending 10 messages every hour, that’s about $5.50 per flight.

But if you’re willing to shell out some cash, there are ways around paying for texts. For example, you could sign up for an annual pass. This costs $540 and gives you access to unlimited texting.

You can also purchase a monthly pass for $10. However, that option isn’t available on all flights. Some routes don’t allow passengers to connect their phones to the internet during takeoff and landing.

And finally, you can always just ask your fellow travellers to help you out. They might be happy to chip in.

About this Guide

Written By Alex
Last Updated On November 20, 2022
Reading Time 
7 minutes
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