The terms and conditions of Qatar Airways' in-flight wifi contains the following line:

Service interruptions may occur while flying due to regulatory restrictions over some countries.

Which countries restrict the use of wifi by passengers in planes flying through their air space?

  • Technically, what they call “Super WiFi” is more than a WiFi network, it also offers Internet access. It would be interesting to know if the plane WiFi network actually stays on (to use their wireless IFE) even when the uplink to the ground is disabled.
    – Relaxed
    Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 20:54
  • 1
    @Relaxed the WiFi network stayed on, but I got this message in Indian airspace. I assume it was because of the description in your answer, but I haven't checked if it came back on after we'd left Indian airspace. I'm also not sure if other IFE was available of that WiFi (at any point), but I assume that it was if it was located on a server that is located on the plane.
    – JJJ
    Commented Mar 13, 2021 at 7:34

1 Answer 1


I am not aware of any countries restricting the use of WiFi on planes (although I suppose it's possible). I don't know if that's what this sentence refers to but there are several countries restricting the use of satellite communications, for example banning them completely on the ground or up to a specific altitude.

Most importantly, several large countries (the US, Russia, China, Australia) require that all traffic originating in their airspace go through a local ground station/gateway to allow for interception (it's called “forced routing”). Qatar Airways (and the satcom operator it relies on) might be unwilling to comply with this requirement and chose to interrupt the service instead.

A comment on this article suggests regulations around the use of satellite communication is indeed the reason behind this clause. It mentions China and India, which is also notorious for its restrictive regulations. In India, you need a special authorisation to import a satellite phone, Iridium and Thuraya are banned entirely.

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