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Sometimes on the ticket it is not clearly mentioned whether the flight supports Wi-Fi. Is it safe to turn on the Wi-Fi on electronic devices whilst on board to see if the flight supports it?

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on every flight I have been on with wifi either someone handed out pieces of paper as we boarded or there was a symbol inside the plane up on the wall. That said, there cannot be danger from your using your phone or laptop to see if wifi is available. –  Kate Gregory Nov 21 '13 at 19:46
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Recently, FAA approved almost all electronic devices to be turned on during all phases of flights. Still airlines did not follow that but the point is, devices are safe to turn on. –  MeNoTalk Nov 21 '13 at 20:01
    
@HaLaBi the FAA approval is only for the flights within the US, right ? Or is this applicable to all airlines everywhere ? –  happybuddha Nov 21 '13 at 20:49
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@happybuddha most of the world follows FAA's rules. FAA changes a thing then they follow.. –  MeNoTalk Nov 21 '13 at 20:55
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@dracc I did roleback on your last edit. The edit made it a different question, upon which the already given answers made no sense. I would suggest to ask a new question, since the new question was a good question –  andra Nov 24 '13 at 18:29

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

There is no single source to check if there is Wi-Fi in a certain flight or not. The best thing you can do right now is to check the airline's website to see if the flight supports Wi-Fi or not. Remember, if the airline advertises Wi-Fi that does not mean all its fleet/flights has it. Sometimes certain types of airplanes in an airline have it while others don't, same goes for routes, like in American Airlines where Wi-Fi is supported within the US only! international flights with the same airline will be without Wi-Fi.

Alternatively, use google to search using a query like does X airline support Wi-Fi, usually the first link will have an answer.

Regarding safety of the Wifi, it is safe to turn on. Check my answer to other similar question, it will answer your question.

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Despite all of the edits to the question, the one part that has remained unchanged is the actual question, which is "Is it safe to turn on the Wi-Fi on electronic devices whilst on board to see if the flight supports it?" None of your attempts at answering the question have even gone close to answering the question being asked. –  Doc Nov 24 '13 at 20:19
    
Ooh dear @Doc... I always enjoy getting a -1 from you :) anyway I updated the question to include that. –  MeNoTalk Nov 24 '13 at 20:25
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I believe you mean that you updated the answer. This isn't Jeopardy. –  Doc Nov 24 '13 at 20:28
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ooh, nice catch, how smart! I am impressed.. yes I updated the answer. You know, idiots like me makes a mistake from time to time, you know, humans ;) –  MeNoTalk Nov 24 '13 at 20:33

In general airlines will go out of their way to tell you if the plane you are currently on has Wifi/Internet Access - as that's how they make their money out of wifi! How they do this varies between airlines, but generally includes :

  • Brochures/cards in the seat-back pocket telling you how to connect
  • Wifi logos on the plane, either at the boarding door (inside and/or outside), at the front of the cabin, or even above each seat (I forget which airline, but at least one has replaced the No Smoking indicator with a Wifi Enabled indicator!)
  • Announcements by the flight attendants either before or after take-off

Given your question was actually is it safe to turn on your Wifi, then obviously if if any way you have been given an indication that the flight has Wifi, it is safe to turn your computer one (once portable electronic devices are allowed).

If no mention has been made by the crew as to whether the flight has Wifi, and if there are no indications, then this would normally mean that there is no Wifi. As a general rule, if a plane does not have Wifi, then enabling Wifi on your computer (which thus makes it a transmitting device) is not allowed, as the plane will potentially not have been officially certified that Wifi devices do not interfere with it's systems.

However realistically, turning on your Wifi device is not going to cause any issues. The FAA and the airlines are aware that most people do not disable Wifi on their computers/tablets/etc when they are used on board (more through ignorance than anything else), and as yet there have been zero confirmed cases of Wifi interfering with the systems on board an airliner.

So if you need to know if your plane has Wifi, the two best options would be :

  • Ring the call button, and ask, or
  • Turn on your computer and try!

Officially the first is the correct answer - but either will work...

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It is so obvious that you can ask the crew once you are onboard, but I think the user wanted to know before he actually gets on board! I do not think it needs a 30 lines answer to tell him to check with the crew or to check the WiFi placards. –  MeNoTalk Nov 24 '13 at 19:44

You can check seatguru ( example). Under "In-flight amenities" wifi availability is indicated. Some airlines are still experimenting with only a handful of planes with wifi, but I expect seatguru to be the most complete resource on this topic.

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+1 I have totally forgotten about this. But as you said, it is not that easy to track flights that has wifi.. –  MeNoTalk Nov 24 '13 at 15:09

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