Communication Concerns: How to contact someone in the air?

There are a number of reasons why you would want to contact a passenger on an airplane. For example, travel or event plans may have changed. The person could need more information to prepare for a meeting. On the other hand, you might just want to make sure the trip is going well. It’s difficult but not impossible to reach someone in this situation.


If you want to contact a traveler on a U.S. plane, you probably won’t be able to make a telephone call. Airlines based in the United States don’t let passengers receive calls on cellphones, according to Conde Nast Traveler. They enforce this rule to prevent cellular signals from potentially interfering with aviation equipment or communications. It also prevents people from bothering fellow passengers with their phone conversations.

However, numerous foreign airlines permit cellphone usage. The Daily Mail reported that European air safety regulations were loosened in 2014. This made it possible for airlines in Europe to allow cellular communication. You can call people who have cellphones if they fly on Qantas, Emirates or Lufthansa planes. Rules may vary depending on the specific airplane model.


Another possible way to contact an air traveler is to send a text message. However, SMS texting doesn’t work on U.S. planes because they prohibit all cellular communications. Passengers on many European and other foreign jets can send and receive texts. Some American airlines offer Wi-Fi Internet access to passengers. If this service is available and the person is using Web-based messaging software, you can contact him or her via the Internet.


Airplanes with Wi-Fi also make it possible to communicate via electronic mail. You might be able to use this method if the recipient has a smartphone, tablet or notebook computer with wireless Internet capabilities. Many modern planes feature USB power ports that passengers can use to charge mobile devices so that they remain in touch throughout each flight.


Although electronic pagers aren’t as common as they once were, some physicians and other professionals still use them. You might be able to contact someone with an active pager while he or she remains in flight. It depends on the distance between the airplane and the nearest repeater station. In some situations, a pager will receive your message after its owner reaches an airport.

The Airfone service is no longer available, so it’s crucial for the recipient to have a mobile communication device of some kind. When selecting the most suitable method, be sure to consider the urgency of a message and the policies of the specific airline. Communication with air travelers is more feasible than it was in the past. Nonetheless, issues with cellular reception and safety rules can still make it challenging.