Can You Text On A Plane? Policies for Travelling With Text

Can You Text On A Plane? Policies for Travelling With Text

Isn’t mobile an inevitable part of our lives? Not only for work, but we need it every time right from waking up in the morning to retiring for the day. It’s an all-time companion for all our WhatsApp chats or social media surfing. To add even more, this handy device solves all the purposes of checking the time, making quick notes, sending files, tracking health records, and the like.

However, you may have to minimize its use when you travel by air. This is because of some regulations defined by the related authorities for the benefit of everyone onboard.  

So, if you are also about to catch a flight for a business tour, you may not be able to stay connected with your boss, colleagues, or business partners for some time. Similarly, you may lose touch with your family members while heading on a vacation by flight.

But, is it completely banned to use phones on a plane? Are there some alternatives to it? Proceed further to find answers to all your concerns in this guide. 

Can you Text Someone on a Plane?

Well, the answer is yes. But, you are allowed to text using the in-flight Wi-Fi only and not your cellular data. You are instructed to keep your phone in airplane mode. So, Wi-Fi can be easily used, if the same is supported by your service provider. This will also enable you to keep receiving text messages from someone.

There is one more aspect to it. Passengers are permitted to use their cellular data for texting when the plane is still on the ground, or when it lands at the destination airport. The moment it takes off, they are asked to set the phone on flight mode and use Wi-Fi. 

What FCC Says to Text on a Plane?

As per guidelines issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), you are allowed to text on a plane using only Wi-Fi and not your cellular data. FCC has concerns that cellular transmissions could conflict with pilot radios while the flight is in motion. 

In addition, as per the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), using cellular data on a flight could cause a disturbance to the airplane’s communication and navigation systems.

Although shielded electrical devices are genuinely present in an aircraft to guard against such interferences, these systems deteriorate with time, owing to regular use.  

Well, no specific evidence pointing to the impact of the use of a phone on an airplane has been found. However, it is suggested by authorities to follow certain regulations and stay on the safer side. 

How to Text on a Plane?

Some airlines let you connect to their Wi-Fi for no charge, while some charge you for the same. You may check this well in advance with a specific airline offers Wi-Fi service on the flight or not. You may also check if it is chargeable or free of cost. 

Since regular SMS services can only be used through cellular data, you can use texting services offered by other apps. So, once you establish a Wi-Fi connection on the flight, you will receive a set of instructions to proceed ahead and use the text service on your phone. The messaging apps such as iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp enable you to send and receive Wi-Fi-compatible text messages. All such apps can be used on iPhones and iPads. 

Nevertheless, if you use an android device, you may use WhatsApp messaging service. No wonder, it could also be possible to use other social media apps like Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and others.

Wi-Fi Services by Airlines

Norwegian Air, JetBlue Airlines, Qantas Airlines, and Nok Air are some of the airlines offering free texting and free Wi-Fi services. Free texting services through messaging apps are also provided by airlines such as Delta, Southwest, and Alaska. They may charge for the Wi-Fi though. 

If you are flying by United Airlines or American Airlines, you need to buy the in-flight Internet service to use text messaging services. Well, there are some airlines like Hawaiian Airlines, Frontier Airlines etc., where Internet services are not available.

Concluding Lines

The crux is that you can text while on a plane but only through Wi-Fi if made available on the flight by the airline you have made a booking with. You may keep a check beforehand whether this service is provided or not.

Also, it may be chargeable, and therefore, you may have to buy the in-flight Internet plan. Once you are all set with this, you just need to keep the related apps installed on your phone to use the messaging services.

We would also advise you to contact the airline’s customer support if you wish to know in detail about their Internet availability onboard. You may also inquire about using your phone for audio or video calls.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you text on a plane?

Yes, you can text on a plane using Wi-Fi.

Can you text on a plane with data?

No, you cannot text on a plane using cellular data. 

Can you use WhatsApp on a plane?

Yes, you can use WhatsApp on a plane.

Can you make or receive calls on a plane?

It depends on the airline you are traveling with whether calling someone or receiving calls through Wi-Fi is allowed on a plane.

Can you make or receive video calls on a plane?

You need to confirm with the airline’s crew whether video calls can be made or received through Wi-Fi on a plane.


    Kit Arnold
  • I heard some airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi for texting. Can anyone recommend a good airline for this, and is it worth the extra cost?
  • sofia gomez
  • Just curious, do you need to connect to the plane's Wi-Fi to send texts while flying? I'm flying next week and wondering if I can stay connected with friends and family during the journey.
  • daisy smith
  • I've heard that some airlines now offer in-flight texting services. Can you actually text while you're up in the air?

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