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“Please place your phone on airplane mode” is a phrase flyers have heard all too often.

While many comply, others blatantly disregard the rules, because well, what could really happen? The cabin crew requests switching to airplane mode for safety reasons, but the fact that we don’t hear much about flight complications due to cell phone use leaves travelers skeptical on whether it’s really an issue. If safety wasn’t convincing enough for travelers, perhaps a hefty cell phone bill will be more of a deterrent.

One man on a recent Aer Lingus flight found out the hard way exactly what could happen when a phone isn’t switched into airplane mode. The passenger was shocked to receive a massive bill from AT&T weeks after his transatlantic flight to the US. The man did not place his phone on airplane mode before he stowed it away in the overhead compartment. Even though he did not use his phone during the flight, his negligence cost him almost $300 in roaming charges.

AT&T told The Irish Times that it is possible for phones to rack up roaming charges while on board. AT&T explained that there are “antennas installed on the plane that operate outside an unlimited international roaming plan,” and that they can “automatically connect with phones that are not in flight mode and run up charges – even when the phones are not in use.”

Additionally, Aer Lingus confirmed that it’s possible for passengers to be hit with high bills by their phone carriers, and said the airline does not make any money as a result. Aer Lingus also stressed that they would not be responsible for any passengers who ignore the rules.

Follow instructions, turn on airplane mode and connect to Wi-Fi to avoid making this costly mistake. To maximize your savings, take advantage of the free inflight Wi-Fi offered with these credit cards.

Know before you go.

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