airplane mode


variants US airplane mode or British aeroplane mode
: an operating mode for an electronic device (such as a mobile phone) in which the device does not connect to wireless networks and cannot send or receive communications (such as calls or text messages) or access the Internet but remains usable for other functions
Today [in 2009], airlines may let passengers use newer-model cell phones in what's called "airplane" mode, which essentially disables the transmission function so they can't make calls. … FAA guidance allows cell phone calls once the plane has landed and is taxiing to the gate.Air Safety Week
Now, I do all I can to ensure that I have a calm and productive morning. I keep my phone in the kitchen overnight, often not turning it off airplane mode until I start work.Benjamin Spall

Examples of airplane mode in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web To access the Wi-Fi, all users need to do is open their phone or device, turn on airplane mode and turn on Wi-Fi, and select the network. Molly McArdle, Travel + Leisure, 22 Mar. 2024 Scheduling periods when your phone is on airplane mode—or switched to silent at the very least—can help foster good habits that will lead to a more balanced nervous system. Georgia Day, Glamour, 8 Mar. 2024 Putting your phone in airplane mode when boarding a flight feels like common sense. Maxwell Zeff / Gizmodo, Quartz, 26 Feb. 2024 One illustrative example was my progression from 1) limiting social media to 2) avoiding one or two specific time-wasting sites to 3) avoiding all sites that refresh at least daily (with some exceptions) to 4) making airplane mode almost the default for my cell phone. Joshua Spodek, Ars Technica, 13 Jan. 2023 The phone was placed on airplane mode and disconnected from Bluetooth and Wi-Fi after a detective concluded it could be wiped remotely, records show. Taylor Hartz, Hartford Courant, 8 Jan. 2024 Still in airplane mode with half a battery and open to a baggage claim for #AlaskaAirlines ASA1282 Survived a 16,000 foot drop perfectly in tact! Gerrit De Vynck, Washington Post, 9 Jan. 2024 Peter Van Sant: From 2:47 p.m. until 10:17 p.m., just under 8 hours, Barry's phone goes into airplane mode. Peter Van Sant, CBS News, 1 July 2023 Despite choosing airplane mode hikes over endless social media scrolling, Petey is still happy that his online presence has led fans to his music. Erica Campbell, SPIN, 30 Oct. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'airplane mode.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

2002, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of airplane mode was in 2002

Dictionary Entries Near airplane mode

Cite this Entry

“Airplane mode.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

airplane mode

: an operating mode for an electronic device (as a smartphone) in which the device does not connect to wireless networks and cannot send or receive communications (as calls) or access the Internet but is usable for other functions
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