Almost everyone at some point mistakenly either left their phone on in their bag, or had some electronics turn on during the flight which they only realized later. And no Really. Bad. Things. happened. Nor did problems arise when pilots used tablets in the cockpit, either. The notion that $100 million equipment could be brought down by an iPod, or by 100 iPods, was the subject of ridicule.
Now passengers can use their phones or tablets with the door closed, during taxi, and takeoff. But devices are supposed to be in airplane mode.
This is the first time I’ve heard of a real consequence for not doing that – though as a result of something that would only occur with certain airlines in Europe, the Mideast, and Asia. A passenger received a $300 cell phone bill.
An Aer Lingus passenger returning to the U.S. left their AT&T cell phone signal on during flight and racked up roaming fees.
[H]e left his phone on in the overhead compartment while travelling to the United States and ended up with almost $US300 ($AU409) in charges from his provider AT&T — the bill for which he only received weeks later.
AT&T said the phone had connected to the plane’s antenna and used data that was “outside an unlimited international roaming plan”, which incurred the extra charges.
Although it doesn’t always happen, the airline confirmed that passengers’ devices “may connect to the in-flight roaming network” without them opting into the fee-paying Wi-Fi network. Instead, the money is directly billed to the provider, as was the case in this instance.
Like many airlines in Europe, the Mideast, and Asia, Aer Lingus offers AeroMobile for inflight calling.