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Anonymous asked in TravelAir Travel · 2 years ago

What happens to SMS messages in airplane mode?

I have never flown so I am a little unsure about this but my understanding is that if a friend is in airplane mode when I text them then the message doesn't reach them as the communication signals are turned off. However when airplane mode is turned off will the message then get through? I am in the UK and my friend was in the UK when I text them as the flight hadn't left, they are now in the USA. Could they still get the SMS message over there once they are out of airplane mode? Also at what point do airlines ask you to put airplane mode on? Is it as the plane is getting ready for take off, just before take off...? I know that my friend was on the airplane when they text me judging by what was written but then at some point it would have had to go into airplane mode and I sent my message about 4 minutes before the airplane left the gate. Sorry it is a lot to take in but any help would be appreciated!

2 Answers

  • 2 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Whether he can receive your message in the US depends on whether he has an international plan. With the plan, his phone would connect to a provider in the US, and his messages would come through. But if he doesn't, he could still use his phone on the wifi in the hotel, for example, and the messages would come through then.

    As for when he turned it off, there's no way to know. I usually turn mine on airplane mode as soon as I get seated. Other people text until the plane starts taxi-ing. That's when the flight attendants come through and check.

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  • In airplane mode, the phone is effectively switched off although you can use the other apps. SMS and emails are stacked until they can be delivered. Once airplane mode is off, the SMS are delivered and will appear on the phone (although it may take a few minutes) Charges will apply to where the phone is when it is switched on, not where it was when the message was sent. That usually means you are charged for sending a UK text, but your friend pays extra for receiving a text abroad.

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