Ryanair won’t let me use ‘flight mode’

On Thursday I’m flying to Dublin for Unlimited Drinks on one of Europe’s most-used and least-loved budget airlines Ryanair.  I have, in the past, been terribly bored on Ryanair flights because they ban the use of any mobile phones during the journey… even if they’re in ‘flight mode’.  That means no games, no music and no video on the iPhone.

I checked again this morning to see if anything had changed in that respect and found it hadn’t, but in my search I came across this news: Ryanair will be one of the first airlines to fit-out their fleet for in-flight voice and data (due Summer 2008).

So when I can pay Ryanair a huge amount for the privilidge it will be fine to use my phone, but until then it’s not safe to even turn it on?  How come other airlines don’t have a problem with this?

By Ben Smith

Ben is an expert on enterprise mobility and wireless data products. He has been a regular contributor to Mobile Industry Review since 2007 and is also editor of Wireless Worker.

11 replies on “Ryanair won’t let me use ‘flight mode’”

ThomasCook and BMI Baby both ban flight mode IIRC. It's probably because staff on the plane don't have the time/ability to check if you actually are using flight mode so it's better to ban all devices.

I hope Air France are okay with it for my 14 hour flight later this month. If not there's always the DS.

I agree with Martin and think that sooooo many people would start getting calls and texts if Flight Mode was allowed… They are most likely running a better say than sorry approach.

However you are correct, this will all change when they can effectively charge for it, in which case it will be please dont switch your phone off.

Ryanair are currently having so many problems with their new website that they would probably be better off fixing that first….

On every flight I've been on, as soon as the plane gets near the runway, the dit-dit-dit-dah-dah-dit-dit-dit of Nokias receiving text messages begins. People think they've switched their phones off, but they haven't.

We'd have seen thousands of planes fall out of the sky if phones were really that dangerous.

A good tip is to switch your phone to flight mode, stick your earphones on and place the phone in a pocket. To the rest of the world it looks like you're listening to any other MP3 player.

Phones on planes is up there with phones on gas station forecourts….

Of course, if your phone is on you won't be so bored as to buy their expensive tat or read the dross as a bit of lite entertainment.

Phones on planes being dangerous is real tinfoil hat material.


Speaking to an airline-type he tells me that problems have been witnessed and the biggest issue is that when things go 'screwy' eliminating the possible causes – not having any phones on is just another cause.

I'm perfectly happy to play by that rule – just miffed I can't use the device at all.

BA, Delta, Monarch and IIRC Easyjet were cool, Ryanair have never been. If I'm flying Ryanair I bring a book and a DS.

Funny thing happened on a recent Ryanair flight. I asked the girl next to me for the time (my phone has replaced my watch as well as everything else!) and she pulls out her phone and turns it on (obviously her phone had replaced her watch too). This was mid flight yet surprisingly the plane didn't fall out of the sky.

It's all nonsense. The main problem with phones being on in the air isn't the problems with flight systems. There's no way they would allow a plane to fly if its systems were so susceptible to RF that there would be major problems. The company I work for designs and builds systems that will be used to allow people to make calls and texts, and use WiFi from laptops and mobile phones while in the air so how could it possibly be such a huge problem for planes if we're doing that?

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