3 tips for getting WiFi on your next flight

words Alexa Wang

Maybe your boss just asked you to take a business trip to Chicago, or you are planning on visiting your BFF in Boston.

No matter the reason for your upcoming trip, you will be spending several hours in the near future perched on a seat that is 30,000 feet above the ground.

In order to make the flight as enjoyable as possible, you would love to access WiFi while in the air. While friends have mentioned this feature, you are not really sure how the entire process works. Is it free? Or something you have to pay through the nose to access?

Fear not, it is more than possible to update your social media status, text your sweetie and catch up on your emails during the flight. The following tips will help you get started:


First, Check with Your Cell Phone Carrier

Give your cell phone carrier a jingle or check their site to see if they offer in-flight texting as part of your plan or for an additional fee. For instance, T-Mobile offers its customers a free hour of texting on flights equipped with Gogo in-flight Wi-Fi. Plus, the wireless carrier also includes in-flight texting with Over-the-Top (OTT) messaging on a number of third-party apps including iMessage and Google Hangout.

Please note, in-flight texting is supported by the following US-based airlines: Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, AirTran Airways, Delta Air Lines, US Airways and Virgin America. Since you are hoping to surf, email and post away during the flight, you may want to make sure your reservations are made through one of these airlines.

Next, Check with the Specific Airline

No matter your wireless carrier, you can still get access to domestic Wi-Fi through your airline. For example, if you are flying on American Airlines, you can purchase WiFi for as little as $10 prior to your flight by visiting aa.com/wifi. You can also buy it once you are seated and your tray table is in an upright position.

If you are a frequent flyer on American Airlines, join the Monthly American Airlines Plan for $49.95 a month, which will give you a pass to be used on all domestic WiFi equipped planes. If you are flying on another carrier, no worries — simply Google the name of the airline and “in-flight Wi-Fi” to see if they offer it. Lots of them do.

Additional Wi-Fi Tips

Another option is to purchase Gogo passes to be used on your flight. But as Fortune notes, be sure to buy the pass well in advance. If you get it ahead of your trip you’ll pay about $19, but if you wait until you are on the plane and have a hankering to watch some Netflix, you’ll shell out a cool $50.

If you fly quite a bit, you can purchase a subscription plan from Gogo for $69.95 a month for international flights or $49.95 a month for domestic trips. Please note that in order to make these plans worth it, you’ll have to fly more than two days each month.

Whether you want access to email to help calm your nerves on the flight or you are as cool as a cucumber when traveling and simply want to help pass the time, it’s nice to know that in-flight WiFi services are available. By seeing what your smartphone provider and airline offers and going from there, you can easily access WiFi while in the air and make your flight as enjoyable as possible.




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