Can you text on a plane 2023?

Passengers traveling by plane will be able to talk and send text messages from their own mobile phones during the flight, although at the moment they will not be able to connect to the internet from their terminals. The only exception will be during the takeoff and landing of the aircraft, operations during which all electronic devices must be turned off. but the question is still that can you text on a plane?

This is contemplated in the ministerial order that regulates the mobile communications service on board aircraft in flight, identified by the acronym MCA (Mobile Communication on Aircraft) and which enters into force this Wednesday. The regulations establish for the first time a general regulation for the provision of this service, as reported by the Ministry of Industry, which explained that temporary broadcasts had previously been authorized to operators who requested it, such as On Air. The MCA is a service with benefits similar to those of second generation mobile telephony (GSM), available on board aircraft in flight at heights greater than 3,000 meters above the ground.

Can you text on a plane?

This service may be used by passengers subscribing to a mobile communications operator with which the MCA service provider operator has signed a roaming agreement. In short, it is a question of having mobile telephone service available during flights using each subscriber’s own terminals and with the same features offered by terrestrial networks with GSM technology (talking and sending text messages). The Ministerial Order regulates both the technical aspects and the conditions that operators wishing to provide this service must comply with. For provision on aircraft in flight, the MCA service requires the definition of harmonized technical operating conditions that ensure its cross-border continuity established by the European Commission.

Enjoy the internet on board

It is worth mentioning that Free Messaging is not the same as connecting to the conventional Wi-Fi network. If the customer wants to use all the power of the internet on board, they can do so but at an additional cost – and from 10,000 feet above sea level. On some of the 737-800 and all 787-800 and Dreamliner aircraft, passengers can download apps, upload videos and browse the web without interruption. The price of this package depends on the destination and the duration of the trip.

Things you should know before text

More and more airlines allow you to access the Internet with your mobile devices during the flight. However, you should note a few things.

  • With most airlines, you can use your mobile phone to access the Internet via a roaming connection on the plane and send text messages.
  • Some airlines also offer Wi-Fi on the plane. Telephone calls are always prohibited out of consideration for other passengers.
  • However, during take-off and landing you must always switch your mobile devices to flight mode – or switch your device off completely.
  • If you use your mobile phone on an airplane, this can result in high roaming costs

Airplane mode: Activate offline mode on the phone

Airplane mode on mobile devices (e.g. Smartphone, tablets, e-book readers) disables all communication links of the device. For example, you can no longer make phone calls, surf the Internet or send messages when flight mode is switched on

On an airplane, you are always required to turn on Airplane Mode on takeoff and landing. Alternatively, you can switch off your mobile device completely. Most airlines allow the use of electronic devices during the flight.

But be careful:

If you use your mobile phone on a plane without the flight mode switched on, for example to send holiday photos, it can be expensive for you. High roaming costs may arise. Even if you don’t actively use your cell phone on the plane. The mobile devices can also dial into the on-board network independently.

As a passenger, you have two options for using your mobile phone on the plane:

Roaming via satellite and Wi-Fi

Depending on the network coverage, can you send text on a plane and surf the Internet via satellite roaming during the flight. Depending on network coverage, you can even make phone calls. But: Telephone calls are prohibited on all airlines, because otherwise fellow passengers could feel disturbed. These connections are billed via the mobile phone bill.
Note, however, that roaming via satellite is very expensive with all cell phone providers.

And beware:

The data cost airbag and the worldwide information obligations of mobile phone providers do not currently apply in airplanes. The EU Roaming Regulation also does not apply on board aircraft, as this only includes so-called terrestrial connections (connections on land).

If you don’t want any expensive surprises, switch the device to flight mode or switch it off for the entire flight.

Wi-Fi on the plane

The alternative to expensive satellite connections is wireless Internet access. More and more airlines are offering this, especially on long-haul routes. In order to be able to use Wi-Fi on the plane, you have to register for it. The costs are billed separately, for example via the credit card.
Usually you can choose between packages and hourly usage. Few airlines even offer WiFi for free.

Important: Check the prices for Wi-Fi on board beforehand. During the flight, you should activate the Airplane mode option and – if desired – establish the Internet connection via WLAN (Wi-Fi).

Does WhatsApp work on the plane?

WhatsApp can only work on the plane if you are also connected to the internet. If the plane is still on the ground, you can use mobile data. If the plane is already in the air, you only have the airline’s own Wi-Fi – if your airline offers Wi-Fi.

At cruising altitude there is no connection to mobile networks. Mobile data is distributed by cell phone towers and can only be received close to the ground.

Please note, however, that all devices must be put into flight mode during take-off and landing. So you can’t test how long your data connection will still work anyway.

Airplane mode prevents devices from connecting to cellular networks.


Although the signals are completely harmless to the aircraft, they can create unpleasant noises in the pilots’ headsets.These are the same sounds you hear when you hold a Smartphone too close to a speaker and a text message or call is about to come through.


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