Can You Take WiFi Hotspot On a Plane? 2024

Mobile Wi-Fi hotspots can connect your laptop to the Internet, phones, tablets, and any other Wi-Fi enabled devices. But will your hotspot work on a plane?

You can take WiFi hotspot device on planes in either carry on and checked bags, but unfortunately you won’t be able to use it, as most of the airline companies do not allow cellular data on their flights. hotspot devices need cellular data to do its thing and provide the WiFi.

In this post I will cover everything you need to know about mobile hotspots, and if you can actually use them in your next flight.

Let’s dive right.

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Carry on baggageChecked baggage

Take Wireless Hotspot Devices Through The Security Checkpoint

Before we talk about using the WiFi hotspot, let me first walk you trough the rules on taking your device through the security checkpoint.

The WiFi hotspot is considered safe electronics that you can bring in both carry-on and checked baggage without any issues.

However; when going through the security checkpoint its pretty important to abide by to the TSA electronic rules.

Remove your device and any electronics larger than a cell phone from your carry-on bag and place them in a separate bin for further inspection.

So ensure that you place your device near the top of your carry on bag.

The TSA didn’t specifically mention mobile hotspot devices on their website but I checked Twitter for more answers.

Here is what the TSA has to say about taking test type of devices through the security checkpoint.

A mobile hotspot is allowed through the security checkpoint without any problem.

But can you still use it !!

Do Hotspots Work On Planes?

Unfortunately, wireless hotspots won’t work on planes and you are not allowed to use them either, not just because the airlines do not permit cellular data on planes.

But also because you will be flying 804 kilometers per hour at 30,000 feet in the air, and your hotspot device will rarely catch any signals just like your cell phone.

So now as you know that you can’t use a wireless hotspot device on a plane, let’s find some alternatives for you.

Some airlines have good free in-flight Wi-Fi, like JetBlue and Delta, even though there are some drawbacks on using the free WiFi as it will get slower and weaker the more the airplane goes too high.

On the other hand most airlines offer paid WiFi, for both single flights or as a subscription.

If you are a frequent traveler, investing in a WiFi package is really worth it, as the coverage will be better and you will have access ulimited to unlimited entertainment.

Since you won’t be able to use your hotspot device on board the airplane it is better to avoid placing it inside your checked bag, most airlines will not compensate any damaged or missed expensive items or electronics in checked baggage.

It is better to place things that you don’t mind losing in checked baggage


Use Personal Mobile Hotspot On An Airplane

Cell phone hotspots or tethering are one of the functions that are life saving.

But as long as your phone -android or iPhone- will be in airplane mode during your flight the mobile hotspot or tethering will not be able to work.

Also as mentioned above it will be hard for the phone to get any signals in a high altitude.

Whenever you get on board the airplane the flight attendant will inform the passengers to turn off or place any phones or devices with cellular data on airplane mode. The reason is for the safety of the passengers and aircraft. Cell phones transfer powerful signals, and if you make a call you will interfere with the airplane cellular radio connection and mess with the flight crew.


Final Thoughts

You can bring a wireless hotspot on a plane and through the security checkpoint without any issues.

Unfortunately you can’t use it as a source for internet connection as the FCC do not allow using cellular data on planes.

Wireless hotspots need cellular data in order to provide the WiFi.

The same goes for personal mobile hotspots or tethering as it is called in some mobile phones. 

Even though if you didn’t turn off the flight mode you can’t use your hotspot on a plane because of the high altitude of the flight .

We hope this helps

Happy travels

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