I recently took a Southwest Airlines flight from one coast of the U.S. to the other. The airline (and plane) didn't have built-in displays, nor could I use its wifi, because I hadn't installed the Southwest app, before taking off (I forgot my headset, so I didn't bother).
I was surprised to find that I couldn't use GPS at all. If I tried Google Maps, it thought I was still at the airport we left two hours before.
Yes, I know about the Faraday effect. But it was still sad to think that here we are, maybe 7 miles up where GPS should be even more effective ... but, No.
But is it really as simple as a Faraday cancellation of GPS signals? Or is there something more going on, such as that my phone could get GPS signals, but needed some sort of network/cell connect in order to function properly?
I had airplane mode on, and wifi off (it was useless without pre-installing the Southwest app anyway). If it matters, I have an Android Pixel 1 XL, OS fully updated, not rooted.
So this is a general question about how exactly does GPS work. Does a smartphone truly have stand-alone GPS that could have worked fine if not for the metal skin of the 737-800? Or is there more to the story?
Thanks if you can help!