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The Gnome documentation states:

Switch Airplane Mode on. This will turn off your wireless connection until you switch off airplane mode again.

Using Airplane Mode will completely turn off both wireless and Bluetooth connections.

I have Airplane Mode turned on in my Network Settings, but still am able to access both Wireless and Bluetooth.

So, what is the real purpose of having Airplane Mode?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

That is a bug. If it doesn't do what it says on the tin, then by definition it's unwanted behavior. Consider helping the GNOME team by filing a bug.

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+1. I also have this bug. –  Paddy Landau Dec 9 '12 at 16:00
    
If you are getting "fail to flush all tx fifo queues" from your iwlwifi wireless kernel module (pertaining to Intel Centrino N cards) this is probably why. –  darksky Mar 1 at 14:44
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