Staying connected in the air: is there a line to draw if at all?

3 replies


Member since 09 May 2020

Total posts 197

One of my biggest fear is that the wireless bandwidth in the air will be so good and so cheap that people will decide they want to do wireless meeting or phone chats by apps like whatsapp in the plane.

Sure people can say they have the right to do what they want.

Yes, it’s their money and people do talk on the phone and to each other even on public transport now.

No, it’s not just some last minute call to sort out some urgent problems (and yes we all can hear you talk in the row behind you) or a quick call to let people know to have arrived (and BTW that can easily be achieved with an SMS, just write the message in airplane mode and when you switch off the airplane mode when you land it gets sent off as soon as it connects to a tower)

But no, many of these people are not mindful of what’s going on around them and the comfort of the fellow passengers and so engaged with their important conversation they don’t get out of people’s way in the aisle nor deplane efficiently.

And yep, much of the time they talk louder on the phone on the plane than to another person and even the best noise cancelling headphones cannot block out the drivel you hear from idle talk (surely we are not that busy to stay connected some other time and some other place)

Finally, most public transport have free seating so people getting annoyed by the talking can move seats but not on an airplane (worse, most flights are at least 1 hour worth on being on the plane) so it’s not the same.

I don’t have the kind of experience of people doing that much talking on their cellphones in the planes plying the US domestic routes but whatever happens in the US doesn’t have to apply here

What does the fellow readers think? (And please don’t resort to relying on etiquette as we all know there is enough people out there who does not believe in conventional politeness)



Member since 19 Apr 2012

Total posts 731

The worse one is being called just as landed and juggling bags etc one handed. The no phone etiquette should extend to caller and callee. Turning the phone on on landing should be for sms to say you’re ‘safely home see u soon’.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 29 Nov 2013

Total posts 456

Whilst bandwidth and availability is getting better there's a couple of points to consider and/or research further XWu:

1. Most airlines like Qantas, Air NZ, etc have explicitly stated that they will not allow voice/video calls via these in-air networks - the technology exists to prevent - I can't see it happening ever

2. Distance is the issue here in Australia - Sure we can support transcontinental wifi but it will be years before its available across to NZ, and even longer before it's available up to Asia, the US, or West to Europe

John Phelan

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 28 Oct 2011

Total posts 261

It won't be an issue in the air because the airlines can disable voice and video calls. It's more in lounges that there's an issue. But there's a simple solution - inject yourself into the call! The caller will quickly get the message.

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