Cell phone calls possible?

Old Nov 5, 18, 1:58 pm
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Cell phone calls possible?

Am on a flight from ORD to LGA at cruising altitude. Cell phone is on airplane mode, connected to United Wifi and my phone just started ringing with a call from my daughter's cell phone. I did not pick up as I did not want to be "that guy" but it sure looked like I could have had a conversation.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 2:00 pm
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Originally Posted by luke5111 View Post
Am on a flight from ORD to LGA at cruising altitude. Cell phone is on airplane mode, connected to United Wifi and my phone just started ringing with a call from my daughter's cell phone. I did not pick up as I did not want to be "that guy" but it sure looked like I could have had a conversation.
Yes, depending on altitude and coverage, your cell phone will work in flight.

However, I think you are asking about VOIP, and I don't think it would be reliable under those conditions.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 2:00 pm
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Is your phone setup for WiFi Calling?
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Old Nov 5, 18, 2:29 pm
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I have seen that the wifi on UA flights will allow my iPhone to "Ring" on wifi calls inbound. I have not ever been able to actually answer and hear the other end. Also, even though it's prohibited, I have tried to make a call (on wifi calling). The results for me have been the same. You can not actually connect / talk. This has been the same with FaceTime calls, and FaceTime video - rings, appears to work but never actually connects. Some have said a VPN will get around this, however it's prohibited under the TOS of wifi, so YMMV.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 2:35 pm
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You might get 10-15 seconds of reception at a time, so it was random luck that someone called you right when you were connected to a tower. If you had answered you might have gotten a few words in but that's it. It's more likely that you would get a phone call or text message over an email or a data-only VoIP app like Skype/WhatsApp/LINE.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 2:51 pm
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Originally Posted by catocony View Post
You might get 10-15 seconds of reception at a time, so it was random luck that someone called you right when you were connected to a tower.
Not when OP is in airplane mode. The phone would only ring if VOIP/WiFi calling were involved.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 2:55 pm
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Originally Posted by luke5111 View Post
Am on a flight from ORD to LGA at cruising altitude. Cell phone is on airplane mode, connected to United Wifi and my phone just started ringing with a call from my daughter's cell phone. I did not pick up as I did not want to be "that guy" but it sure looked like I could have had a conversation.
Facetime call? Potentially coming through as a push alert as it rings, much like one can receive imessage and other push alerts on some 737 and a320
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Old Nov 5, 18, 3:24 pm
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Originally Posted by jsloan View Post
Not when OP is in airplane mode. The phone would only ring if VOIP/WiFi calling were involved.
If iphone airplane mode disables WiFi connectivity as well. Phone should be basically dead to Wifi, bluetooth, and cellular. Try yourself at home if you have an iphone. From what I understand ALL cell phones should/do operate this way.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 4:05 pm
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Anyone try WhatsApp call? It's much more data efficient than a carrier's VOIP.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 4:08 pm
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Originally Posted by nomad420 View Post
If iphone airplane mode disables WiFi connectivity as well. Phone should be basically dead to Wifi, bluetooth, and cellular. Try yourself at home if you have an iphone. From what I understand ALL cell phones should/do operate this way.
This is incorrect. Cellphone airplane mode allows WiFi & bluetooth connections. It precludes cellular network connections.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 4:14 pm
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Originally Posted by nomad420 View Post
If iphone airplane mode disables WiFi connectivity as well. Phone should be basically dead to Wifi, bluetooth, and cellular. Try yourself at home if you have an iphone. From what I understand ALL cell phones should/do operate this way.
Originally Posted by physioprof View Post
This is incorrect. Cellphone airplane mode allows WiFi & bluetooth connections. It precludes cellular network connections.
There is some version / build that deactivates all the connections when airplane mode is activated, but you can individually turn back on the wifi and bluetooth while still in airplane mode.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 4:15 pm
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There is no correct answer. It depends on the phone.

On most phones, iPhone & Samsung by way of example, Airplane Mode turns off mobile, wifi, and bluetooth. One may then turn each of the services back on individually. That is not necessarily universal.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 4:16 pm
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This is Wifi calling but doubt enough bandwidth to actually have a call, which is against FAA regs at present.

I am often able to get text messages and other push notifications when inflight, connected to Wifi, but not having bought the wifi option. I guess UA let's some of this "leak through" to connected devices.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 4:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
There is no correct answer. It depends on the phone.

On most phones, iPhone & Samsung by way of example, Airplane Mode turns off mobile, wifi, and bluetooth. One may then turn each of the services back on individually. That is not necessarily universal.
It is not possible to turn cellular data connection back on in airplane mode.
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Old Nov 5, 18, 4:57 pm
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Originally Posted by WineCountryUA View Post
Is your phone setup for WiFi Calling?
Yep - if it is despite being on airplane mode, calls and texts will still come through.

Glad my phone was on silent the last time this happened to me.
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