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Zoom calls on board

Zoom calls on board

Old Apr 22, 21, 5:01 am
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Zoom calls on board

Hi all,

Does anyone know if the wifi on board of overseas Air France/KLM flights can be used to make zoom/teams/skype calls? I know it can be used for surfing, emailing and sending whatsapp message, but I have never tried to make a call.

Thanks!
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Old Apr 22, 21, 5:19 am
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Originally Posted by Noelle Sanglier View Post
Hi all,

Does anyone know if the wifi on board of overseas Air France/KLM flights can be used to make zoom/teams/skype calls? I know it can be used for surfing, emailing and sending whatsapp message, but I have never tried to make a call.

Thanks!
I know that Skype is usually blocked. I wouldnít count on the bandwith being real fast, so even if youíre able to connect, it might be slow or choppy.

In earlier days, say 2003-2004, I played online poker, and even used Skype video on a Korean Air flight transpac. Hit a huge deadzone a bit over halfway to ICN. Donít forget you might annoy your neighbors, too.
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Old Apr 22, 21, 6:35 am
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You will need to check with the operating carrier for each flight, but I believe that both block the common services, including Zoom. Both as to passenger disturbance and for bandwidth reasons.
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Old Apr 22, 21, 8:22 am
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Bandwidth aside. Please tell me you are only listening in and not an active speaking participant.
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Old Apr 23, 21, 7:57 am
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hehe, yes :-). But come to think about it, that might be a reason they might have blocked it!
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Old Apr 23, 21, 11:09 am
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Originally Posted by Noelle Sanglier View Post
Hi all,

Does anyone know if the wifi on board of overseas Air France/KLM flights can be used to make zoom/teams/skype calls? I know it can be used for surfing, emailing and sending whatsapp message, but I have never tried to make a call.

Thanks!
Welcome to FT.

Can't speak to AF/KL in particular, but earlier this month I was again on a common carrier transatlantic flight using in-flight internet (hooked up via Inmarsat relays). I was able to receive various kinds of video calls as a result of VPNing in-flight but not without playing around with a VPN or some other stuff (altering ports perhaps) in advance of the calls. It was not a good enough connection to have an uninterrupted two-way video communication for anything meaningful -- i.e., not even a two minute presentation from my side. It was a bit better with audio-only exchanges, but it's spotty enough that I wouldn't count on it for submitting verbal instructions for final edits on any kind of important documents since it's too easy to miss a word here or there even if the video and/or audio seemed like it was ok on my end.

I've been on flights where my in-flight internet communications would not be disturbing to any passengers, so I have been trying this again and again in basically empty cabins or other non-disruptive ways. [Can't believe I've been playing around with in-flight internet video and audio calls for what seems to be around 16 years! I even learned to take a noise-cancelling mic headset for the calls on my laptop back at the beginning but soon realized not to expect any sustained conversations to work reliably over in-flight internet. Naughty me since already at the beginning of this on airlines they said they didn't want us using Skype and MSN messenger calls in-flight. ]

Update: Air France also has some of its planes using Inmarsat for in-flight internet, so what I reported above should also work just about the same way on at least some of the Air France Airbus 350 type planes. If you have a VPN connection operating you should be able to get video and/or audio calls to connect on at least those AF planes. Just don't expect much of a sustainable conversation to be had via Skype/Zoom/Teams/Meet/WebEx/FaceTime/WhatsApp/Signal in-flight. The connections are choppy, there are satellite dead spots, and sometimes it seems like the airline even forgets to turn on the internet connection for part of the flight at cruising altitude even as the Wifi network is on and may be connected to your device.
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Last edited by GUWonder; Apr 23, 21 at 9:56 pm
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Old Apr 24, 21, 1:18 am
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Please don’t be that person.
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Old Apr 24, 21, 7:49 pm
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Whether you can or not is very different from whether or not you should.

Most airlines do not permit voice calls inflight, even if itís possible. Iím guilty of having done it a few times though WiFi calling and FaceTime, but only very briefly and I always made sure my voice was never at a level where anyone else could hear. In J and F itís definitely possible to speak and have no one ever hear you.

I would never do this for a work call though. I would sound like a combination of Barry White and Batman to the people on the other end. Not overly professional.
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Old Apr 25, 21, 2:51 am
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Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
Whether you can or not is very different from whether or not you should.

Most airlines do not permit voice calls inflight, even if itís possible. Iím guilty of having done it a few times though WiFi calling and FaceTime, but only very briefly and I always made sure my voice was never at a level where anyone else could hear. In J and F itís definitely possible to speak and have no one ever hear you.

I would never do this for a work call though. I would sound like a combination of Barry White and Batman to the people on the other end. Not overly professional.
Depends what your job is .
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Old Apr 25, 21, 11:00 am
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I used to often use those airline-provided AirFones and AirOne type phones on my US flights for brief voice calls (as in arranging for being picked up or other tasks). But some people would hold long conversations or listen in on conference calls -- and I'm guilty of the latter -- using those seat-back/arm-rest/cabin wall-mounted phones provided by the airlines. Some major international airlines still may have their in-built entertainment system controllers having dial pads with phone-call dialing in mind.

Many major airlines seemed fine with voice calls on board when it was seen as a potential revenue source for the airline. That was when the passenger's cost for using the service was high but the airline's cost to have such service/products wasn't seen as high to the airline. Eventually most of those airlines with such systems decided to ditch these kind of in-flight telephone systems because of too little phone call revenue coming their way and finding cheaper/better uses for "the space" those systems/devices were taking on planes. The AirFone type systems weren't removed by these airlines because of passenger complaints about the calls being disruptive; they were removed because people weren't using them enough.

Now the airlines don't want voice and video calls in-flight because the relatively cheap in-flight wifi and prevalence of lots of smartphones/tablets/laptops could make in-flight calling more generally "disturbing" without providing a financial gain to the airlines.

Originally Posted by Noelle Sanglier View Post
Depends what your job is .
How disturbing is a video call with communication in sign language? Please let me know, if you can.

Last edited by GUWonder; Apr 25, 21 at 8:33 pm
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Old Apr 27, 21, 7:59 am
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Please God let the restrictions remain, even if it is merely because the Airlines cannot turn a dime on calls. If ever someone attempts to make or participate in such a call, and turns to "shush" me, or any travel companion, matters will turn ugly very quickly.
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Last edited by JamesLoughney; Apr 28, 21 at 9:34 am
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Old May 10, 22, 12:48 pm
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KLM blocks all access to Zoom (even before you attempt a call), even if you pay for their most expensive steraming service.
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