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Which airline was that MrMichael, as it would have to be either be through the aircrafts handset or an airline that has a GSM cell on board that allows calls. Not too many base stations in the outback of Australia.
PS phons will pick up base stations whilst in the air, however the antenna is designed to spread the radio energy horizontal to the earth, so at altitude the signal would be quite low. Aircraft also fly rather fast so wouldn’t take too long to exceed the 32km range (or 64km in parts of Australia) range of GSM, so plenty of base station jumping.
The only real way to have mobile connectivity in air is with a cell on board, which then uses the satellite to communicate with ground. Think a few airlines are starting to offer this. Emirates for example. But be warned the cell is a roaming cell and you pay satellite costs for any calls.