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In-Flight Wi-Fi: What You Need to Know

In-Flight Wi-Fi: What You Need to Know

Someday, we will all be having a good laugh about how we tried to do business while enduring these covered wagon days of Wi-Fi access on flights. According to a cross-section of flight attendants interviewed from multiple airlines, Wi-Fi is never a sure thing on flights. If you’re relying on in-flight Wi-Fi for entertainment or, more importantly, work connections, their advice is simple: “Don’t.” Wi-Fi availability has yet to be guaranteed on all U.S. domestic flights.

There are six airlines relying upon Gogo as their service provider for passenger Wi-Fi service:

  • Air Canada
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • United
  • Virgin America

To purchase your access to Gogo, an hour-long pass is $7, and a day-long pass is $19. If you travel regularly, it makes more financial sense to invest in a monthly pass of $49.95 or a monthly multi-airline pass for $59.95.

When you create a Gogo account and purchase a pass, you’re basically purchasing a limited license to access their online network. Their network coverage area is above 10,000 feet. Remember, the service is not available during takeoff or landing. When you read online reviews, you’ll find everyone’s experiences differ, because conditions vary and the number of users varies on each flight. It’s not dissimilar to being at home and having gamers gobbling up bandwidth while other family members are streaming movies.

Do Free Inflight Wi-Fi Services Exist?

As for free inflight Wi-Fi services, we are aware of only eight airlines offering these services: Emirates, JetBlue, Norwegian, Turkish Airlines, Air China, Philippine Airlines, Hong Kong Airlines, and Nok Air.

Entertainment Options

Netflix and Amazon both offer offline downloads now of their movie and TV show content, but Netflix’s offerings are more limited to their own branded series and movies, plus a few series. Their offerings will only continue to expand.

As for your offline storage, we’ll use the iPhone 7 Plus as our example. This phone offers 256 gigabytes of storage, so you’d be able to download several movies (all of the Star Wars movies) and still have plenty of storage for your apps. As an example, the HD version of Fight Club, a two-hour and 19-minute movie, eats up 5.6 gigabytes. If you need more storage to run your movies, you can temporarily disable the apps you don’t use regularly. They are saved in the cloud, so you can restore them as you need to use them again.

If you had a great Wi-Fi experience on one of your recent flights, we’d love to hear about it. Sound off in the comments below!


By: Denise D.

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