Airlines with in-flight Wi-Fi: Your guide to staying connected at 35,000 feet

David Anders
DA
David Anders
Jul 2, 2019
  • Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly available on major airliners, but can add to the cost of flying.
  • Gogo is the largest airline Wi-Fi provider in the U.S. with service on American Airlines, Delta, United Airways and others.
  • JetBlue is the only U.S. airline carrier that offers free Wi-Fi to all passengers.

Wi-Fi is everywhere — in your home, at the local coffee shop, maybe even in your car — so why shouldn’t it be on your next flight as well? Depending on your airline and destination, it could be.

Most major airlines in the U.S. offer Wi-Fi service on their flights, often for an added charge. The price varies by airline, as does the availability, speed and quality of connection.

Will in-flight Wi-Fi service be available on your next plane ride? Here’s a look at which airliners offer free in-flight Wi-Fi, as well as what to expect from major airlines in the U.S.

Airlines with free in-flight Wi-Fi

  • Air China
  • China Eastern
  • Emirates
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Nok Air
  • Norwegian
  • Qatar Airways
  • Turkish Airlines

In-flight Wi-Fi service details by airliner

Aeromexico

Provider: Gogo, Gogo 2Ku
Cost: Varies. In-flight purchase available when on board
Estimated speeds: Up to 70 Mbps
Additional details: Aeromexico offers free messaging over Wi-Fi for passengers using iMessenger, Facebook Messaging or WhatsApp.

Aeromexico was the first airline to implement Gogo 2Ku, which offers a stronger connection and faster speeds. They also plan to have 86% of their fleet equipped with Gogo 2Ku by end of 2019.

Air Canada

Provider: Gogo
Cost: Varies. Hour, single flight and monthly passes available
Estimated speeds: Up to 600 Kbps
Additional details: Air Canada currently has 79% of their fleet equipped with Wi-Fi.

Alaska Airlines

Provider: Gogo, Gogo 2Ku in select aircrafts, ViaSat
Cost: Varies by available Wi-Fi service provider. Hour, single flight and monthly passes available
Estimated speeds: Up to 600 Kbps to 70 Mbps depending on provider
Additional details: Alaska Airlines offers free messaging over Wi-Fi for passengers using iMessenger, Facebook Messaging or WhatsApp.

All Alaska Airlines planes, excluding the Q400s, are equipped with Wi-Fi, and 24 of 241 aircraft are currently equipped with Gogo 2Ku service.

Wi-Fi service may not be available on flights to Mexico, Hawaii or Puerto Rico.

Allegiant Air

Wi-Fi service is not available

American Airlines/American Eagle

Provider: Gogo, Viasat or Panasonic
Cost: Starting at $10/flight or $49.95/mo.* Can be purchased pre- or in-flight
Estimated speeds: Up to 600 Kbps to 12 Mbps depending on provider
Additional details: American Airlines claims Wi-Fi is available on “nearly all U.S. flights.”

Wi-Fi is available on international flights onboard the Boeing 777-300ER and must be purchased in-flight.

Monthly Wi-Fi plans are not available with Panasonic.

Wi-Fi may not be available on all American Eagle flights.

Delta Airlines/Delta Connections

Provider: Gogo, Gogo 2Ku
Cost: Domestic day passes starting at $16. Monthly passes starting at $49.95. Annual passes starting at $599.*
Estimated speeds: Up to 600 Kbps with Gogo, up to 70 Mbps with Gogo 2Ku
Additional details: Delta offers free messaging over Wi-Fi for passengers using iMessenger, Facebook Messaging or WhatsApp.
Wi-Fi is available on nearly all domestic and international flights. 60% of mainland aircraft are equipped with Gogo 2Ku.

Delta recently launched a two-week pilot to test free Wi-Fi on 55 domestic flights. The service did not support content streaming, but it did enable web browsing, email and messaging free of charge.

Frontier Airlines

Wi-Fi service is not available

Hawaiian Airlines

Wi-Fi service is not available

JetBlue Airways

Provider: ViaSat
Cost: Free on all available domestic flights.
Estimated speeds: Up to 15 Mbps
Additional details: JetBlue is currently the only carrier based in the U.S. to offer free in-flight Wi-Fi service to all passengers at no additional charge.

JetBlue claims to be the first airliner to offer free Wi-Fi on all flights. Free Wi-Fi is currently only available for domestic flights, but JetBlue hopes to expand the Fly-Fi coverage area to include their entire route map, except for flights to Bogota, Medellin, Guayaquil, Lima and Quito.

Lufthansa

Provider: FlyNet®
Cost: Lufthansa offers three in-flight Wi-Fi tiers for long-haul routes, starting at $8 for FlyNet Chat, $20 for Mail and Surf or $34 for Mail and Surf Plus. Miles & More members can redeem miles to pay for Wi-Fi service.*
Estimated speeds: Up to 64 Kbps with FlyNet Chat, 400 Kbps with Mail and Surf/Plus.
Additional details: Lufthansa offers different Wi-Fi plans and pricing for long-haul and short-haul flights. The pricing listed above is for long-haul flights, which includes flights to and from the U.S.

First-class passengers may be eligible for complimentary Wi-Fi service.

Southwest Airlines

Provider: Global Eagle
Cost: Free for A-List Preferred Members. Starting at $8/day for all other passengers.
Estimated speeds: Up to 10 Mbps
Additional details: Southwest is currently the only airline in the U.S. that uses Global Eagle. They recently ended their agreement with Panasonic, which impacted a “relatively small portion of the carrier’s fleet.”

Spirit Airlines

Wi-Fi is not currently available, but Spirit expects to equip their entire fleet with Wi-Fi in 2020.

Sun Country Airlines

Wi-Fi service is not available

United Airlines

Provider: Gogo, Panasonic, Thales and ViaSat
Cost: Monthly subscriptions available starting at $49 or 7,500 rewards miles.* Pricing varies widely by available provider and flight.
Estimated speeds: Varies by provider. Up to 500-600 Kbps with Gogo, 70 Mbps with Gogo 2Ku, 12+ Mbps with Panasonic, ViaSat or Thales.
Additional details: United Airlines claims to offer in-flight Wi-Fi on all mainline and two-cabin regional aircraft.

Domestic flights are likely to have service from Gogo or Thales, while international flights are likely to have ViaSat (on flights to Europe or Central America) or Panasonic. The price and service quality may vary widely by provider.

Virgin Atlantic

Provider: Gogo
Cost: Around $4-20 per flight*
Estimated speeds: Up to 600 Kbps
Additional details: Virgin Atlantic claims to be the first airline in Europe to offer Wi-Fi on all flights.

Answers to your questions about in-flight Wi-Fi

Can you use miles/points to purchase in-flight Wi-Fi?

Some airlines and credit cards allow you to use miles or points to pay for special airline services such as Wi-Fi. Remember, though, those points/miles aren’t always easy to come by, so you may want to think twice before using them on Wi-Fi service that would only cost a few bucks otherwise.

Editor-At-Large for The Points Guy and self-proclaimed “world travel junkie,” Zach Honig advised, “Some airlines do allow you to redeem miles instead of paying cash for Wi-Fi, but be sure to do the math — it often isn’t a good deal.”

Will more airlines offer free Wi-Fi service in the future?

Delta has already experimented with complimentary Wi-Fi service on select flights, and Honig hinted the airline is “moving in the direction of offering free Wi-Fi on aircraft that offer Gogo’s much-improved 2Ku service.”

Other major airlines, including American Airlines, Southwest and United Airways have not announced plans to offer free in-flight Wi-Fi in the near future.

Do mobile phone hotspots work on planes?

Not typically, especially once you get to cruising altitude. Mobile services require signals from broadcast towers, which are unlikely to reach your plane.

Is purchasing in-flight Wi-Fi worth it?

That depends. The Wi-Fi service on most airlines/flights will not support video streaming, so if you’re wanting Wi-Fi to watch Netflix, probably not. If, however, you could use a Wi-Fi connection to check email and do some work/homework, a Wi-Fi connection may be useful.

For more information about Wi-Fi service at home and on the go, turn to our experts at Allconnect®.

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