Settings for In - Flight Use


I just got back from a DC to LA round trip, and used my 3490 for every mile above 10,000 feet.

This is approved by United. And I used it in plain view of the crew. Sat in 8A on a 757 - a very visible position. No one cared at all.

Some settings I used, that may help:

- I set the navigation to 'off-road'

- I use the Garmin Garage 'Jet' icon

- Driving Map View 'North Up'

- Map Detail 'More'

- Map Buttons - all removed except 'Where Am I?'

- Power saving: BT off, display low. (I use an external USB Power supply to get me through all 5+ hours)

- disabled all POI alerts

- muted voice

- disabled the map layers '3-D buildings' and 'traffic'

- I use the second dashboard, set to:
- direction
- elevation (got close to 36,000)
- speed (632 was my max)
- time of day (changes as you pass into another time zone)

- Zoom level 20Mi if I want wide, to see states and borders clearly, 2Mi if I want specifics. But play with the's great!

- See something interesting? Touch it - and details will follow.

- 'Where am I?' is the best instant locator, since some teeny towns aren't on the display

One caveat: I am always in a window seat. Got full bars the whole way. Can't guarantee it'll work in any other seat.

Again, this is United. Other airlines are OK with GPS - but not all. Also, this unit has a high-sensitivity receiver. Probably necessary.


HD_Dude wrote: I just got

HD_Dude wrote:

I just got back from a DC to LA round trip, and used my 3490 for every mile above 10,000 feet.

Hey, that's cool! Years ago, I used to furtively use my old Garmin-enabled iQue 3200 PDA to see where we were whenever I saw some remarkable or interesting landmarks I couldn't identify. However, it was (stupidly, of course) verboten to use a GPS. Once I got chewed out by a flight attendant ... and another time I narrowly escaped a chewing out by claiming it was "just" a PDA (which it was ... but it just happened to also have GPS capability if you flipped out the little panel GPS antenna).

The iQue's receiver was not nearly as sensitive as the today's latest units, so I had to hold it right up against the window and it would typically take minutes to get a fix!

Besides figuring out what the heck we were flying over, I liked seeing altitude and ground speed.

Another tip for power saving, on the 3490LMT, I have to think that turning off the voice recognition feature should also help stretch battery life. With it on, the unit is constantly "listening" for the phrase "voice command".

more airline tips

I have used GPS on airliners that permit it for many years. The first step is to check before flight whether the airline in question permits GPS use as a general rule. For that check I generally rely on this page maintained by Joe Mehaffey:

Regardless of what that list shows, the Captain on your flight has the final word on this point.

It seems pretty common for initial satellite lock to take unusually long, and I think this is probably because of the large Doppler shift imposed by the speed of flight placing the frequency of the birds in view not near the center of the search range. My impression is that it can help search time to be sure to have obtained the ground fix shortly before the flight, preferably within an hour. Also it is a real help if during the initial fix you can actually hold the unit up to the window. With my old Garmin GPS V it was catch as catch can to get a signal down on the seatback tray even in a window seat, but with my two current machines, an eTrex Vista HCx and a Nuvi 855, once they get a lock they will usually hold while sitting in the tray even in a non-window seat, although the signal strength is often quite low.

personal GPS user since 1992

Acquire Satellites

Honestly I have trouble picking up GPS signals inside the plane. Do you hold your GPSr next to a window?


I asked the flight attendant and she went and asked the pilot and he said it was ok to use.

I was in an isle seat and my husband was in the window seat. He had to hold it and it did great.

Mary, Nuvi 2450, Garmin Viago, Honda Navigation, Nuvi 750 (gave to son)


that they let you use it. Most are so paranoid I had one tell me to turn off my camera (I was taking a pic of the city as we circled) because it could interfere with the flight controls.

I felt like going Alec Baldwin on them, but decided to just play along.

no issues

I can't imagine an airline having an issue with a GPS running on board. You're not transmitting anything and the electronic footprint of the device is so small there is no way it could interfere with anything. Especially now they're backing off on the cell phone rule too.

I drive, therefore I am happy. Rodeo, wildlife and nature photography

I have had the photo issue as well

Sadly enough, on Iberia Airlines, while we were in the plane but on the ground, the flight attendant was adamant that we could not take a picture.


Plane use

I have used mine on Jet Blue a few times.
I just ask the pilot on my way onto the plane.
I never change any of my settings I only open up the view (if it is set close you only get a headache from the speed it goes bye.)

Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things!

broadband noise source

rodeophoto wrote:

You're not transmitting anything

Nothing intentional, but like most consumer digital devices a typical GPSr transmits across a broad range of frequencies. All it needs is to have signal lines inside with waveforms on them, and less than perfect RF shielding on the case.

Yes the rules are conservative, but not completely daft.

personal GPS user since 1992

Go Compact

I use my Garmin GPS 10X during flights. The GPS receiver is just a small rectangular box that I stick between the window and window shade. It retransmits coordinates to a laptop or PDA (with Garmin's map software loaded). Window seat not required, usually seatmates are happy to place the receiver then watch my screen as we travel.

I turn it on when the flight crew gives clearance and off before landing. That's the only downside. It'd be fun to watch the airport departures and approaches along with speed and altitude changes.


Nuvi 760 & 660, Streetpilot, GPS III, GPS 10X

Cool idea!!

Cool idea!!