Everything You Need to Know About Airplane Mode

airplane mode

We’re all familiar with airplane mode, or “aeroplane mode” as it is often called in the UK. But do you know exactly why we need to use it? And if you’re using it on your business phone, have you heard about our airplane hacks to keep things ticking over while flying and generally boost performance?

What is airplane mode?

Airplane mode disables all radio-frequency signal transmission via your phone or device. This includes telephony (calls and texts), mobile data, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Some devices, such as iPhone, also disable GPS in airplane mode. Some may not, however, as GPS doesn’t involve the transmission of radio waves.

What is the purpose of airplane mode

Every time you get on a flight, whether for leisure or business, you are asked to turn your mobile devices onto airplane mode. We all know that it can be dangerous to have them switched on – but why? According to pilot Nikita Schmidt, it’s because they transmit radio waves that cause radio pollution, which can interfere with the aeroplane’s radio equipment and be heard by the pilot and flight staff. Schmidt describes this interference as being like the sound you can sometimes hear through speakers when a nearby phone is receiving a call or text. Lots of these signals at once would have a big impact.

What business tasks can you still carry out in airplane mode?

These days, many professionals rely heavily on their business mobiles to do work and carry out business. It can be very frustrating to be completely cut off when flying. However, there are still some things you can do with your phone while it’s in airplane mode.

Tasks that use business apps in offline mode

Many business apps have offline modes so that you can still use them when travelling. For example, Evernote has the functionality for you to view your to-do lists offline, while Slack’s offline function allows you to refer back to important messages while offline. Trello’s offline mode lets you edit boards while you are offline and then automatically syncs everything once you have an internet connection. In G-Suite, you can set documents in Google Drive to be available offline so that you can view and edit them when you are on the go.

Internet-based tasks with in-flight Wi-Fi

Don’t forget as well that Wi-Fi on flights is becoming more and more common, and you can use Wi-Fi while in airplane mode by switching it on your device’s Wi-Fi manually. In-flight Wi-Fi is currently offered by Emirates, Qatar Airways, JetBlue Airways, Norwegian, Turkish Airlines, AirCHhna, China Eastern and Nok Air – with more following suit all the time.

What happens when someone calls you on airplane mode?

When someone calls your phone while it’s in airplane mode, the call will simply go to voicemail as if your phone was switched off or you had no signal. But what if it’s an important client calling? There are a couple of things you can do.

Set up call forwarding

If you know you’re going to be flying and unreachable for a while, you can set up forwarding so that the caller is forwarded to a colleague or to the office. There’s nothing worse for a client than feeling frustrated that they can’t reach anyone.

Use Wi-Fi calling or VoIP

Of course, if your flight has Wi-Fi, as mentioned earlier, you can use Wi-Fi calling. If your company uses a VoIP (voice over IP system), you will automatically receive calls via the internet anyway and shouldn’t experience any disruptions to your business communications.

What else can aeroplane mode be used for?

There are a few other sneaky hacks that allow you to use airplane mode to your advantage.

Save battery

On your way to an important meeting but realise your phone is low on battery and you don’t have a charger? If you switch on airplane mode for a while this will save and preserve your battery, as your phone isn’t transmitting signals looking for incoming messages and communications, or downloading anything (such as emails) from the internet.

Help your phone charge faster

Just like it saves your phone battery, airplane mode can also help your phone charge faster. If you need to supercharge your phone, put it in aeroplane mode while it’s plugged in.

Prevent unnecessary roaming charges

Roaming charges when you’re abroad can end up costing you a lot. If you keep airplane mode on most of the time while you’re away and only use Wi-Fi on your phone, you won’t accidentally pick up or make an expensive call.

Focus on your work better

In the modern age, our mobile devices can be a huge distraction – whether it’s constant emails, news notifications, or a funny picture in the group WhatsApp. If you really need to focus on a task for an hour or two, switching on airplane mode is a great way to cut out all the background noise so you can get to work.