Wifi calling works during flights

nooaah

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Sep 3, 2009
1,600
165
Philadelphia, PA
if anyone questioned whether the in flight wifi is capable of allowing wifi calling, it actually works really well. Problem is, nobody wants to hear a phone conversation on a flight. Given that in flight wifi is switching to much faster satellite technology, this could get really obnoxious for everyone. Is there a way providers could identify and block related packets or are we destined to constantly hearing yapping on cross country flights moving forward?
 
  • Like
Reactions: T0MMYBOY4

T0MMYBOY4

macrumors regular
Sep 29, 2013
100
20
if anyone questioned whether the in flight wifi is capable of allowing wifi calling, it actually works really well. Problem is, nobody wants to hear a phone conversation on a flight. Given that in flight wifi is switching to much faster satellite technology, this could get really obnoxious for everyone. Is there a way providers could identify and block related packets or are we destined to constantly hearing yapping on cross country flights moving forward?
I'm assuming you tested this personally? Which cell carrier and airline? Glad to hear this works!
 

nooaah

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Sep 3, 2009
1,600
165
Philadelphia, PA
I'm assuming you tested this personally? Which cell carrier and airline? Glad to hear this works!
AT&T and yes, I called a buddy after we reached cruising altitude (important because I was out of tower range at that point). What was shocking, considering the essentially dialup connection, was the decent call clarity. No losses.

To the other poster who I tried to multi quote but failed, American's policy only is in regards to cell calls; doesn't address voip. Since services like Skype or FaceTime apparently are more data demanding, I guess it's never been an issue. This is a can of worms I'm not for, though I'm hoping nipping this in the bud now will give Gogo time to insert a router firmware update to block this type of voip before the high bandwidth satellite service launches in a few months. Again, being trapped in a metal tube for hours next to someone blah blah blahing would be torture. I'd probably quit my job haha.
 
  • Like
Reactions: T0MMYBOY4

silverblack

macrumors 68030
Nov 27, 2007
2,676
838
Not that I want to encourage phone calls on plane in particular, but how is that different than passengers talking to passengers loudly because of the noisy background?

Get a pair of noise cancelling headphones if you can afford it. If not, $2 ear plugs work too.
 

C DM

macrumors Sandy Bridge
Oct 17, 2011
48,954
17,602
I hope the airlines block it from working. I don't want to have to sit next to someone having a phone conversation for the whole flight.
Quite a bit of discussion about it when the rule changes were coming about:

https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...al-electronics-on-commercial-flights.1664447/

https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...-in-flight-voice-data-cell-phone-use.1675662/

https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...nt-considers-banning-calls-on-planes.1683828/
 

redman042

macrumors 68030
Jun 13, 2008
2,917
1,369
Seems like this is a case of the airlines not keeping up with the technology. AT&T rolled out Wifi calling and the airlines haven't blocked those particular ports yet. I bet they will.

In my opinion, the issue of people using their phones in the air is overblown. If someone wants to be a jerk, blocking a phone call isn't going to stop them from being a jerk. And as for those who are easily irritated by others talking, bring a set of earbuds and tune them out. I wouldn't fly without earbuds as it is.
 

whadzinaname

macrumors regular
Jun 23, 2010
143
97
When T-Mobile first came with Wifi calling, my phone showed T-Mobile Wifi once I was airborne and connected to Wifi. Since then, wifi calling wouldn't connect even though I'd have internet service. It's only a matter of time before block it off!
 

steveh552

macrumors regular
Jan 30, 2014
166
125
AT&T and yes, I called a buddy after we reached cruising altitude (important because I was out of tower range at that point). What was shocking, considering the essentially dialup connection, was the decent call clarity. No losses.

To the other poster who I tried to multi quote but failed, American's policy only is in regards to cell calls; doesn't address voip. Since services like Skype or FaceTime apparently are more data demanding, I guess it's never been an issue. This is a can of worms I'm not for, though I'm hoping nipping this in the bud now will give Gogo time to insert a router firmware update to block this type of voip before the high bandwidth satellite service launches in a few months. Again, being trapped in a metal tube for hours next to someone blah blah blahing would be torture. I'd probably quit my job haha.
Yet you were that person. I guess what your saying is you don't mind doing it but you prefer nobody else do it?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 0007776

xero9

macrumors 6502a
Nov 7, 2006
849
480
I'm assuming T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, etc are the same but Rogers it creates an IPSec tunnel back to their servers. It should be as simple as finding the block of IPs it might connect to and simply null route them. That's probably why T-Mobile worked at first but doesn't now.
 

iphonedude2008

macrumors 65816
Nov 7, 2009
1,134
448
Irvine, CA
I don't think they should block wifi calling. People seem to do fine right now, and if people started talking on the plane, others would shame them until they stopped. We can't restrict the ways technology changes our social customs.
 

Gathomblipoob

macrumors 601
Mar 18, 2009
4,802
3,679
People seem to do fine right now, and if people started talking on the plane, others would shame them until they stopped.
Or until an in-flight fracas ensued, necessitating a reroute or early landing.

I once sat next to a guy who continued texting after the flight attendant told him to stop or be escorted off the plane (we were preparing to taxi for takeoff). She got on the cabin speaker and shamed him in front of everyone. Didn't stop him. Our takeoff was delayed while he farted around.

Nope. I wouldn't care if in-flight calls were prohibited. People can send texts instead. I don't need to hear my seat-mate jabbering away for five hours.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ABC5S

iphonedude2008

macrumors 65816
Nov 7, 2009
1,134
448
Irvine, CA
Or until an in-flight fracas ensued, necessitating a reroute or early landing.

I once sat next to a guy who continued texting after the flight attendant told him to stop or be escorted off the plane (we were preparing to taxi for takeoff). She got on the cabin speaker and shamed him in front of everyone. Didn't stop him. Our takeoff was delayed while he farted around.

Nope. I wouldn't care if in-flight calls were prohibited. People can send texts instead. I don't need to hear my seat-mate jabbering away for five hours.
Thats true. I can't believe someone would be that rude and inconsiderate. I guess I change my position. Some people just can't function in a proper society.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ABC5S

divergirl

macrumors regular
Oct 30, 2012
118
24
I don't think they should block wifi calling. People seem to do fine right now, and if people started talking on the plane, others would shame them until they stopped. We can't restrict the ways technology changes our social customs.
I don't think they should either. Can you imagine if movie theaters emitted a frequency that blocked phone calls while you were in the theater? Yes it would solve the problem, but I don't know of a single person who would be happy with it. People shouldn't be talking incessantly on the phone on airplanes because of common courtesy, not because they can't.

Just imagine this scenario. What if while you were on a 22 hour flight, your grandfather took a bad fall down the stairs and ended up in the hospital. When you land at your destination, you find out that he has passed away. Your mother tried to call you while you were in the air, but you no idea what was going on since the airline blocked the call. Thanks to technology you could've had one last chance to talk to your father before he passed away, but now it's too late.

Yes, this is an exceptional case, but that's the point. There are always going to be instances where technology can make a real difference in our lives, and I think common sense needs to dictate when we do not make phone calls, not the airlines.

And yes, it is true that just five years ago you could not have made such a phone call at all, but does it really seem fair to restrict the way were are using this technology now that we do have that capability?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Radeon85

iphonedude2008

macrumors 65816
Nov 7, 2009
1,134
448
Irvine, CA
I don't think they should either. Can you imagine if movie theaters emitted a frequency that blocked phone calls while you were in the theater? Yes it would solve the problem, but I don't know of a single person who would be happy with it. People shouldn't be talking incessantly on the phone on airplanes because of common courtesy, not because they CAN'T.

Just imagine this scenario. What if while you were on a 22 hour flight, your grandfather took a bad fall down the stairs and ended up in the hospital. When you land at your destination, you find out that he has passed away. Your mother tried to call you while you were in the air, but you no idea what was going on since the airline blocked the call. Thanks to technology you could've had one last chance to talk to your father before he passed away, but now it's too late.

Yes, this is an exceptional case, but that's the point. There are always going to be instances where technology can make a real difference in our lives, and I think common sense needs to dictate when we do not make phone calls, not the airlines.

Yes it is true that just five years ago you could not have made such a phone call at all, but does it really seem fair to restrict the way were are using this technology now that we do have that capability?
Its actually illegal to block radio signals for that very reason.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dopestar

off_piste

macrumors 6502a
Oct 25, 2015
762
480
I have no problem blocking calls. They're obnoxious in confined spaces and many people don't have a sense of how loud they're talking while on the phone.

We restrict all kinds of things that we're capable of. What's the point of restricting something we're not? I don't see that as a compelling, or even sensical, argument.

As for movies, Japan blocks cell signals. I actually know someone who answers calls in a theater and will hold full on conversations. Nice guy but for some reason doesn't think he's being rude.
 

JoeTomasone

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2014
513
78
I have no problem blocking calls. They're obnoxious in confined spaces and many people don't have a sense of how loud they're talking while on the phone.

We restrict all kinds of things that we're capable of. What's the point of restricting something we're not? I don't see that as a compelling, or even sensical, argument.

As for movies, Japan blocks cell signals. I actually know someone who answers calls in a theater and will hold full on conversations. Nice guy but for some reason doesn't think he's being rude.

This issue should be dealt with on a personal level, not a technology level. Just as NJ Gov Christie was told to leave the quiet car on the Amtrak while loudly carrying on a conversation, your friend can be compelled to leave the theater and someone being loud on an airplane can be asked to be quiet or terminate the call. Remember, it's against US Federal Law to disobey a member of the flight crew.

However, if not only for emergency purposes, there should never be any justification to prevent phone calls anywhere. Heck, for that reason, the FCC requires that all cell phones - even those without service - be able to dial 911.

I personally wouldn't make calls on a regular basis on a plane - but if I had an urgent matter that couldn't wait, I'd want the option. Heck, they had airphones in the seatbacks for decades for that purpose. It's just that no one used them since they charged a million dollars a minute.
 

willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Oct 31, 2009
10,300
8,168
Here(-ish)
This issue should be dealt with on a personal level, not a technology level. Just as NJ Gov Christie was told to leave the quiet car on the Amtrak while loudly carrying on a conversation, your friend can be compelled to leave the theater and someone being loud on an airplane can be asked to be quiet or terminate the call. Remember, it's against US Federal Law to disobey a member of the flight crew.
Agreed.

However, if not only for emergency purposes, there should never be any justification to prevent phone calls anywhere. Heck, for that reason, the FCC requires that all cell phones - even those without service - be able to dial 911.
You don't have that option now.

I personally wouldn't make calls on a regular basis on a plane - but if I had an urgent matter that couldn't wait, I'd want the option. Heck, they had airphones in the seatbacks for decades for that purpose. It's just that no one used them since they charged a million dollars a minute.
Again, you don't have the option to make an urgent call now, so how would enabling the possibility give you the right to make one! It's illogical.
 

JoeTomasone

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2014
513
78
Again, you don't have the option to make an urgent call now, so how would enabling the possibility give you the right to make one! It's illogical.
Well, on the few planes that still have activated airphones, I do - plus, I apparently can through WiFi calling. And, if other VOIP options were unblocked by the airlines' Wifi carriers, I would be able to. Skype, FaceTime, and others are blocked explicitly. I am not in favor of this.
 

willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Oct 31, 2009
10,300
8,168
Here(-ish)
Well, on the few planes that still have activated airphones, I do - plus, I apparently can through WiFi calling. And, if other VOIP options were unblocked by the airlines' Wifi carriers, I would be able to. Skype, FaceTime, and others are blocked explicitly. I am not in favor of this.
I understand where you're coming from. But it always strikes me as odd when folks insist on their "rights" that weren't even possibilities 5 minutes ago; in fact, this isn't even past tense: this whole thread is still hypothetical at this point.

While I'm not in favor of a tyrannical state, I do understand that if I choose to use/pay for a (non-essential) service such as in-flight wifi, or even flying with X Airline, I must play by their rules. If I don't like their rules, I can take my business elsewhere. I "vote" with my dollar.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gathomblipoob

Tinmania

macrumors 68040
Aug 8, 2011
3,458
953
Aridzona
I understand where you're coming from. But it always strikes me as odd when folks insist on their "rights" that weren't even possibilities 5 minutes ago; in fact, this isn't even past tense: this whole thread is still hypothetical at this point.
He specifically mentioned air phones. Those have been on airliners since the 1980's. There was no outrage. It was just expensive.



Mike
 

wacky4alanis

macrumors 6502a
Mar 18, 2009
543
70
This is not a new issue. I remember when many airplanes had telephones at every seat. You just swiped your credit card, and then you could make a call. Of course that was self-regulated by the insane cost of the calls.
 

willmtaylor

macrumors G4
Oct 31, 2009
10,300
8,168
Here(-ish)
He specifically mentioned air phones. Those have been on airliners since the 1980's. There was no outrage. It was just expensive.

Mike
...ok....

I saw that he mentioned air phones.

I said nothing of outrage. (If you mean that no one was outraged that phones were being used on planes, I'd like to challenge the notion that they were ever used. They were prohibitively expensive, so almost no one used them. It's anecdotal, I know, but I personally never saw anyone use one. To even compare the potentially intrusive and obnoxious nature of anyone being able to talk on a phone on a plane to the unobtrusive nature of a phone that hardly anyone ever used seems...off the mark, at best.)
 
Last edited:
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.