Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Everyone can be forgetful.

In certain situations, however, it's worth persuading your wits to still be about you or it might cost you money.

I only mention this because of a tale offered by a passenger on an Aer Lingus flight.

He admitted to the Irish Times that he'd absent-mindedly put his phone into the overhead bin.

I assume he'd slipped it into his bag, rather than leave it to slide around the bin. 

The passenger did, though, get something of shock when he got his phone bill from AT&T.

It was for almost $300.

The slight mistake he'd made, you see, was not putting the phone into airplane mode.

This allowed the phone to connect, in AT&T's words, with "antennas installed on the plane that operate outside an unlimited international roaming plan."

There's nothing like a rogue antenna to make your life complete.

In this case, the antennas allow the phone to be live and frisky throughout the flight, even though you're not technically using it.

And the rates that get charged, oh goodness you won't like them.

Phone carriers have the occasional reputation of charging customers outrageous roaming charges. Sometimes, that's because customers just don't understand the potential cost. 

A few years ago, I helped a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan fight a $16,000 AT&T bill. He hadn't quite understood that his roaming charges would be $5 a minute for calls, and around 50 cents for every text, possibly because the salesperson may not have told him.

There's little excuse, though, for not turning your phone off -- or setting it to airplane mode -- when you fly. 

If you can't get around to doing that -- life is hard, isn't it? -- at least turn off your cellular data and any international roaming data you might have on.

That way, there'll be no data usage occurring in some background manner, while you're watching a movie or snoring away.

No one likes to get a huge phone bill. Especially when one's had absolutely no joy from how that bill has been run up.

Published on: Dec 4, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.