How to Use a Laptop on an Airplane

If you’d like to use your laptop during a flight for entertainment or business purposes, it’s important to follow a certain protocol to make sure you are complying with the flight’s procedures and that you are making the most of your laptop’s battery life.


It’s important that you charge your laptop completely before your flight takes off. It’s best to do this at home or at the airport while you wait for your flight. Turn the laptop’s power off to conserve the battery for use on the plane

Keep your laptop in a handy location so that it can be easily removed during airport security or once you sit down for the flight.

Make sure you follow crew directions regarding the use of electronic devices during the flight. Remember, you are not allowed to use your laptop during take-off or the landing. Wait until the plane has reached the appropriate altitude before you power your computer up.

Another important thing to remember is to disable any wireless networks. You must completely turn off Wi-Fi capabilities because you are prohibited from using any sort of radio, other than MP3 players. On most laptops, you can do this by switching an On/Off button, but on others the process isn’t that simple.

To disable wireless capabilities in Windows 7 and Windows Vista:

1. Hit Win+X for the Windows Mobility Center.

2. Click “Turn Wireless Off.”

3. Close the window.

To do the same in Windows XP:

1. Open the control panel and click on the Network Connections icon.

2. Right-click the wireless network connection.

3. Choose “Disable” from the shortcut menu.

4. Close the window.


Some helpful tips:


  • If your computer features an Airplane mode, use it.
  • Choose a window seat if that is an option. This is mostly so you can control the window shades to get the most visibility on your screen.
  • Buy a screen filter that will prevent other passengers from seeing or reading what you’re working on.
  • If it’s available, plug in your laptop to EmPower to save your laptop’s battery life for when you land. In order to use EmPower, you will need an EmPower adapter.
  • If EmPower is not available, request an electrical outlet if you are sitting in a service class with that accommodation. Business and first class usually include access to an outlet. Coach does not usually offer this accommodation.
  • Use your seat’s folding tray feature as a table for your laptop.
  • Remember to keep your laptop and accessories in the area allotted to you and be mindful of other passengers and the plane’s crew.

This help tip was provided to you by Gilian Miller. He enjoys writing about non-traditional Internet such as satellite internet.

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