You probably know to switch your smartphone to airplane mode when you fly. Per a 2013 law, as long your phone is in airplane mode, you can leave it powered on and use it in flight—even to message with people over Wi-Fi aboard most U.S. airlines, including Delta and Southwest. But have you ever wondered what would happen if you didn’t switch it to airplane mode (or if you’ve forgotten to switch it, what did happen)?
For one thing, you can rack up serious roaming charges, as a passenger on an Aer Lingus flight recently found out. As written in The Irish Times, the passenger “said he had inadvertently left his phone on in an overhead compartment while flying to the US and was horrified to get a bill for almost $300 from AT&T, his provider, weeks later.
“AT&T said the charges were racked up by ‘antennas installed on the plane that operate outside an unlimited international roaming plan.’ The antennas can ‘automatically connect with phones that are not in flight mode and run up charges – even when the phones are not in use.'”
The fact is that you can only accrue roaming charges when you’re traveling internationally and you don’t have an international plan like T-Mobile’s, but it’s good to know this is possible. And of course, you should switch to airplane mode anyway.
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