If you’re on a plane to another state and you suddenly remembered a very important message you have to send to your mother, you have to wait until the plane lands to be able to tell her to unplug the iron you left on in your room. But if your carrier is T-Mobile, you don’t have to wait anymore (or else your house might catch on fire or something.). The “un-carrier” has partnered with Gogo, an aero-communications service provider, so their subscribers can enjoy in-flight texting and voice messaging.
If you’re a T-Mobile subscriber, starting September 17, you can now send and receive text messages, picture messages as well as visual voicemail through the in-flight WiFi services of Gogo. And you don’t have to pay an arm or a leg to do so. This service is available for free in over 2,000 commercial aircraft flying within the country. They did not however specify which airlines this will be available in, so maybe you have to ask the airline first before booking your flight.
But you will only be able to use this if your smartphone is WiFi Calling-enabled (which T-Mobile promises all their new phones will be). Connect with the in-flight Gogo WiFi, then launch your browser and you’ll be asked to verify that you’re indeed a T-Mobile customer (better have your plan info ready). Be sure you’ve made at least one WiFi call before your flight to ensure that the feature is activated.
Ever since the FAA has allowed (sometimes, required) that mobile devices be open during the entire flight, there has been a demand for services like this, except that most of them charge a lot for it. Now let’s see if the T-Mobile/Gogo coverage in the air will be good enough for you to be able to reach people who are down there. To check if your smartphone is compatible, you can visit the T-Mobile website where they have a constantly updated list.