You know the drill. Board the plane, get comfy in your seat, buckle up, and frantically send off your final texts for the next 8 hours.
Airplane mode–is it actually necessary? It’s a federal requirement on US domestic flights, which involves disabling wireless transmission functions like cellular and voice data.
Cell phones are designed to send out signals strong enough to reach long distances. The FCC actually put the ban in place back in the early 1990s, based on the science that the radio frequency given off by these devices could interfere with cell tower networks on the ground.
A recent study showed that 1 in 5 people don’t follow these rules. This same study indicated that males are 2x more likely than females to ignore instructions about turning off their phones.
If you don’t play by the rules and do airplane mode while in the sky, then your cell will keep trying to make connections with every cell tower on the ground that the plane passes. Not only will the signals cause interference with airplane navigation, but it’ll actually drain YOUR battery really fast.
WiFi, on the other hand, takes advantage of the plane’s off-aircraft connectivity, which means you’ll get superior functioning if you follow the rules and simply access the on board WiFi.
Fun fact: Since you can’t make in-flight voice calls over cellular while on board, you can always use the WiFi option. BUT, US airlines won’t allow this.
So as soon as you enter US airspace, the technology that allows in-flight calling is actually turned off.
But, has someone refusing to turn their phone onto airplane mode ever crashed a plane? No.
‘Tis the season of holiday travel. If your family hasn’t guilted you into visiting yet, perhaps your phone is on silent…or a text is imminent. More than half of Americans plan to travel during the week of Thanksgiving, Christmas, or both. If you have yet to book your holiday flight yet, be prepared to pay more not just for airfare, but for hotels, too.
While there was a brief respite several weeks ago when prices fell from their summer peak, prices have rebounded about 50% for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, says the managing editor at The Points Guy.
Our advice going into this travel frenzy is simple: don’t put off booking any longer. Prices aren’t dropping, that’s a given. It’s likely to get worse from this moment on.
Also, if you have reward points and miles, now is the time to use them. Cash prices are so high, so you’ll be getting the maximum value.
The usual trick of flying on a Tuesday or Wednesday won’t work for you anymore, travel pundits are saying. Even flying on Christmas, Christmas Eve, or New Year’s Day is costing more than it used to.