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Cell Phone charges Despite in airplane mode?


WallyNDiane
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Was talking to a couple and cruise cell phone coverage came up. They claim they had their inexpensive cell phone on airplane mode for their entire cruise. Despite not making any calls on the islands, they got hit with $10 per day calling charges(AT&T plan for international calling). They asked for an explanation and was told that inexpensive cell phones can still receive data despite being in airplane mode. So they had to pay the $10 fee per shore day despite not using the phone.

 

We have inexpensive cell phones. We want to have the cell phone coverage only for emergencies, so we signed up for the AT&T $10 per day international plan (fee only charged if you use the phone).

 

We had planned to use our cell phone in airplane mode for Medallion app purposes. We called AT&T and they said some phones do access data despite being in airplane mode which would trigger charges. Sounds funny to me. Has anyone heard of this? 

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25 minutes ago, WallyNDiane said:

Was talking to a couple and cruise cell phone coverage came up. They claim they had their inexpensive cell phone on airplane mode for their entire cruise. Despite not making any calls on the islands, they got hit with $10 per day calling charges(AT&T plan for international calling). They asked for an explanation and was told that inexpensive cell phones can still receive data despite being in airplane mode. So they had to pay the $10 fee per shore day despite not using the phone.

 

We have inexpensive cell phones. We want to have the cell phone coverage only for emergencies, so we signed up for the AT&T $10 per day international plan (fee only charged if you use the phone).

 

We had planned to use our cell phone in airplane mode for Medallion app purposes. We called AT&T and they said some phones do access data despite being in airplane mode which would trigger charges. Sounds funny to me. Has anyone heard of this? 

My husband has the $10 per day option on his AT&T service.  It activates if the phone is turned on.  Not sure if putting it in airplane mode stops that.

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12 minutes ago, PoohUnderstands said:

Yep.  However, we have an apple phone and only get charged when we take off of airplane mode.

 

Pooh

Me too. 

 

I take my phone off of airplane mode while in port, but unless I make or receive a call, there is no $10 charge for that day.  Maybe a text message would trigger the $10 fee as well, I didn't pay that much attention.  

 

 

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1 minute ago, Mike45LC said:

Me too. 

 

I take my phone off of airplane mode while in port, but unless I make or receive a call, there is no $10 charge for that day.  Maybe a text message would trigger the $10 fee as well, I didn't pay that much attention.  

 

 

When you take your phone off of airplane mode, all the gps find you apps, etc. kick in even if I don't make a call. So I just assume my $10 starts then.  If your phone uses data then the $10 kicks in for me.  I only do it a couple days anyway so really haven't doublechecked my bill.  Will do so my next trip!

 

Pooh

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I have Verizon with an android phone. No charges have ever appeared internationally unless I turned airplane mode off. When in port I look for trustworthy wi-fi locations and sign on to check messages from the kids or email. To find out where good wi-fi is, just ask the crew. They depend on it! Many port terminals offer free wi-fi.

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I don't have an iphone so this may not apply for OP. I'm on a Samsung 9 and ATT. I am not charged for wifi when in airplane mode or for receiving texts. Just for sending them. Completely avoid the $10 per day international charge (true for Asia, Japan, Korea, multiple South & Central America countries, NZ, Australia, or Europe.  Anyway that's been my experience within the past 2 years

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23 minutes ago, Mike45LC said:

Me too. 

 

I take my phone off of airplane mode while in port, but unless I make or receive a call, there is no $10 charge for that day.  Maybe a text message would trigger the $10 fee as well, I didn't pay that much attention.  

 

 

For me
I don’t have to make/receive a call or text to trigger the charges. 
If any of my apps or phone is active and transmitting or receiving data that will activate the daily charge. 

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1 hour ago, WallyNDiane said:

We have inexpensive cell phones. We want to have the cell phone coverage only for emergencies, so we signed up for the AT&T $10 per day international plan (fee only charged if you use the phone).

 

We had planned to use our cell phone in airplane mode for Medallion app purposes. We called AT&T and they said some phones do access data despite being in airplane mode which would trigger charges. Sounds funny to me. Has anyone heard of this? 

 

Never heard of that before. You mention you want your phone for emergencies - unless you are able to set up wifi calling, do not put your phone in to flight mode or no one will be able to call or text you. The way to avoid losing credit is to disable mobile data. Under settings go to Connections>data usage>mobile data and then select off. Your phone will then still be active and not search for data to update apps etc which is generally the cause of charges.

I state all this because you mention that you mention you have inexpensive cell phones and hadn't mentioned the option of wifi calling. 

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26 minutes ago, leck57 said:

 

Never heard of that before. You mention you want your phone for emergencies - unless you are able to set up wifi calling, do not put your phone in to flight mode or no one will be able to call or text you. The way to avoid losing credit is to disable mobile data. Under settings go to Connections>data usage>mobile data and then select off. Your phone will then still be active and not search for data to update apps etc which is generally the cause of charges.

I state all this because you mention that you mention you have inexpensive cell phones and hadn't mentioned the option of wifi calling. 

Doesn’t airplane mode do the same thing?   🤔

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We have Verizon and brand new iphone 11Max pro (so not cheap as referenced by OP). We were recently in Punta Cana and put our phones on airplane mode on the plane. When we got to the resort, we connected to their wifi. We attempted to imessage someone and we got a text from Verizon that our $10/day had started! DH called Verizon and told them we had our phones in airplane mode with all cellular data turned off! After much discussion, we had the charges reversed. We still don't know how that happened, but we are going to call Verizon before we leave on the cruise next week. 

Janet

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Love Samsung  .... never an issue. This is the default-->

Screenshot_20200124-151911_Chrome.thumb.jpg.66d5f3aaa55dc55b3138c4547fe77173.jpg

To disable on non-Samsung suggest following Leck57's suggestion 

 

Added: ATT once asked if I wanted to add a $10 pd charge when I was in wifi mode / mobile data off and all anyone has to do is not add. 

Edited by Ombud
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7 minutes ago, Colo Cruiser said:

Doesn’t airplane mode do the same thing?   🤔

 

Yes...and no. Airplane mode disables the ability to call, receive calls and texts as well. If you still want to have a phone in the traditional sense of being able to make and receive calls and texts, airplane mode stops this ability. That is why if you just disable data you can still have a functioning phone.

I'm making these comments in the context of the poster not using wifi calling, which many people still don't use/know about.

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At some point you will take off airplane mode and that's when data will be transmitted. I turn off cellular data and data roaming but still put the phone in airplane mode. If I come out of airplane mode data is still off. I turn on Wifi Calling at home so if I make a call home it will be local and will be via WiFi. I use either Facebook messenger or Whatsapp to send text messages to those who don't have iPhone messenger. I don't have any international plan at all. I never have any extra charges. A good practice is to also turn off locations on individual apps that you don't use on vacation. Tracking your location can also use data outside of airplane mode.

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30 minutes ago, leck57 said:

 

Yes...and no. Airplane mode disables the ability to call, receive calls and texts as well. If you still want to have a phone in the traditional sense of being able to make and receive calls and texts, airplane mode stops this ability. That is why if you just disable data you can still have a functioning phone.

I'm making these comments in the context of the poster not using wifi calling, which many people still don't use/know about.

This is why they get charged for data. As soon as you turn off airplane mode to use the phone function all of a sudden you are getting notifications from the bank, emails, locations can start to kick in for weather apps and locations for GPS apps.

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Sounds like the OP may have flip phones. Perhaps they are different and don't really fully disable data. Not sure how they could be charged otherwise. On a side note my wife once got a large data charge for sending a picture from the ship. We were in San Francisco, had just boarded, and were in our balcony cabin looking out at the pier. Someone on the ship failed to turn off the cell connection that's supposed to be disabled in port. My wife got a notice almost right away about the charge and, fortunately, Verizon removed the charge. Since then we've been paranoid about using our phones on the ship in port. I know it's "supposed" to be safe but apparently that isn't always the case. That was also back when she had a flip phone.

Edited by Thrak
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We have Samsung Galaxy 3 phones by the way. They are not flip phones but are lower end smart phones. Normally we just have our phones off and in Airplane mode on cruises. But we had planned to use the Medallion app to take advantage of that service. So our phones will be on more than usual because of that. This will occur while we are in port which I assume will result in Island cell service availability. 

 

Since we are retired, I don't want any surprise charges on our cell phone bill especially if we didn't use the phone to call, text or browse.

 

Thank you.

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OK I am apologizing in advance for this,post but I am completely confused.  Please help out this technology poor grandma with this internet/phone business.  I have an iPhone and my carrier is At & T.  I have never signed up for an type of international package with them.  Was planning on getting the internet thru the ship to allow me to text with family etc.  but after reading the above post and looking at carriers website I am fearful I will be charged by my carrier whenever I turn on my phone to use the ships service.  Grandpa doesn’t want to go get any package so if I get pay for the service on the ship and then get charged by my carrier he will be very unhappy with his bride of 57 years.  Thanks everyone for your help!

 

 

 

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I have ATT.....and an iPhone.
I leave my phone on and in airplane mode 24/7 if I have the unlimited Wi-Fi onboard.

If you turn your phone to airplane mode and shut the phone off it stays in airplane mode when you turn it back on. 
You will not be charged extra by ATT

if your phone is in airplane mode.
 

What ship are you on and how long?

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Thanks for the help!  We are on the Crown Princess for a ten day cruise.  Been quite a few since we have cruised and things are certainly different!  Again appreciate your help.

Edited by gskgizmo
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We just switched to TMobile from AT&T and were very pleased with it on our just concluded South American / Antarctica cruise.  I had an unlimited wifi package and kept the phone in airplane mode at all times on the ship.  I have an iPhone 11 and with wifi calling turned on I had full use of all of the features of my phone.  And on land I turned off airplane mode and enabled data roaming and was able to use data and text at no extra charge.

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airplane mone turns off the cellular.  so it sounds like they did not have their phone in airplane mode proper. 

 

some more things you can do is

  • turn off background refresh, this stops apps from automatically trying to connect.  this means your apps will take longer to be useful because they will refresh every time you open them instead of staying current in the background
  • turn off push notifications, this will mean emails will not be checked until you force the app to go check while you are using it,  this is just great on vacations so you get to choose when  you check emails instead of seeing work and feeling curiosity to look
  • in cellular, there is some field called some version of roaming or roaming data, turn this off and your phone  will not connect to networks outside your carrier.

this is a fairly good article, https://www.theguardian.com/money/2012/may/25/data-roaming-smartphone-abroad

 

personally, i have tmobile, and my plan has data and cell in many countries included, so i get no roaming charges in ports.  granted i mostly go to mexico and canada for work.  i know this isn't always helpful as people are on different networks for reasons, just pointing that out as a possibility if you are in the market to possibly change providers.

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