Hidden dangers of web surfing on planes

Businessman flying to Singapore gets $1200 bill

Once you’re in the air, check how much data you are allowed to download onto your device. That was the hard lesson a Canadian businessman flying to Singapore learned when he was given a bill of nearly $US1200.

He downloaded far more information than the amount included for free in Singapore Airlines’ $25 access fee.

Rules for smartphone use in the air are similar to those encountered when travelling beyond the smartphone plan area, so it’s wise to turn off automatic updates and not allow apps to get access to phone services.

Caution is needed on a plane, warns Thomas Bradler of the Consumer Centre of the German state of North-Rhine Westphalia.

“The standard settings aren’t enough here,” he said. “To avoid higher costs, you should deactivate automatic updates, as well as email updates.”

Passengers should read the fine print of any contract, especially the bits about costs, he says.

“If the contract does not clearly explain the costs incurred, you should take the bill to the airline and demand at least a partial repayment.”


[photo courtesy Singapore Airlines]

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