6 Ways To Save Money On Inflight Wi-Fi

6 Ways To Save Money On Inflight Wi-Fi

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Inflight Wi-Fi has come a long way over the past several years. Back in the day inflight Wi-Fi was the exception rather than the norm, though things have changed significantly.

Not only have we seen inflight Wi-Fi availability increase significantly, but speeds have also been greatly improved. Many of us can now be as productive in the air as on the ground (which is one of the reasons I value flying first class, since it gives you some extra space to be productive).

How to score discounts on inflight Wi-Fi

While for the most part Wi-Fi isn’t that ridiculously priced (at least when you consider that you’re in a metal tube going 500 miles per hour seven miles above the earth’s surface), there are still some opportunities to save money.

Some of the better ones have come and gone, so in this post I wanted to look at six ways you can save on inflight Wi-Fi. In no particular order…

Use an airline credit card benefit

Select airline credit cards offer discounts or statement credits for onboard Wi-Fi purchases. For example:

The right Southwest credit card will get you a lot of free Wi-Fi

Buy Gogo Wi-Fi passes in advance

Gogo has variable pricing once you’re onboard a flight, and prices can differ substantially based on the route, airline, day of the week, etc. One way to lock in a certain price is to buy a Gogo pass in advance. Gogo sells two types of passes in advance for travel on Alaska and Delta:

  • Buy a continuous one hour pass for $7, valid on any domestic Gogo equipped plane
  • Buy a continuous 24-hour pass for $19, valid on any domestic Gogo equipped plane

The passes are all valid for a year from when they’re purchased. The one hour pass isn’t that great of a deal, while I’d say that in most cases the 24-hour pass represents significant savings, especially if you’re taking multiple flights (they do all have to be on the same airline, though).

In some cases airlines will also sell Wi-Fi passes in advance, so keep an eye out for that.

Buy a monthly subscription

There are also some opportunities to buy monthly Wi-Fi subscriptions in advance. In some cases these passes are sold directly by airlines, and in some cases they’re sold by Wi-Fi providers.

For example, Gogo sells monthly Wi-Fi passes for Alaska and Delta. This can make sense if you’re a very frequent traveler on a particular airline. The options are as follows:

  • You can buy a domestic Wi-Fi subscription for Alaska or Delta for $49.95 per month, or $599 per year
  • You can buy a Delta global Wi-Fi subscription (so this is also available on long haul aircraft) for $69.95 per month

In some cases we also see airlines sell monthly subscriptions directly. This is often done when airlines have multiple Wi-Fi providers (for example, American’s domestic fleet has Wi-Fi from both Gogo and Viasat). American Airlines sells Wi-Fi subscriptions valid on its domestic fleet (this doesn’t work on long haul flights). The options are as follows:

  • You can buy a Wi-Fi subscription for one device for $49.95 per month
  • You can buy a Wi-Fi subscription for two devices for $59.95 per month

United Airlines also sells Wi-Fi subscriptions, and the options are as follows:

  • You can buy a Wi-Fi subscription for North and Central America for $49 per month, or $539 annually
  • You can buy a Wi-Fi subscription for global flights for $69 per month, or $689 annually

Use your T-Mobile Wi-Fi benefit

T-Mobile has a partnership with Gogo, which works on select Alaska, American, Delta, and United planes:

  • If you have a Magenta plan, you get one hour of free Wi-Fi plus unlimited free texting for the entire flight on your mobile device
  • If you have a Magenta Plus plan, you get unlimited free Wi-Fi, including texting, for the entire flight on your mobile device

To take advantage of this just make sure that your flight features Gogo Wi-Fi, go to the log-in page, and you’ll see an option to enter your mobile number to take advantage of the perk.

Fly JetBlue or La Compagnie

If you want high-speed Wi-Fi but don’t want to pay at all, then fly an airline with free Wi-Fi. Two airlines that come to mind as being revolutionary in that regard are JetBlue and La Compagnie. They both offer free high-speed Wi-Fi to all of their passengers with no data caps, provided by Viasat. They’re pretty exceptional in that regard.

La Compagnie offers free high speed Wi-Fi

There are some other airlines offering free Wi-Fi, though either with data limits, or the speeds aren’t that good.

On a larger scale, some airlines are working toward offering free Wi-Fi. For example, Delta is currently offering free Wi-Fi on its Viasat equipped jets for Delta SkyMiles members, and the plan is to roll this out to all passengers in early 2023.

Furthermore, American offers free sponsored 30-minute Wi-Fi sessions on its Viasat equipped jets, which includes most of the domestic fleet.

Fly first or business class on select airlines

As a general rule of thumb, airlines don’t offer free Wi-Fi in first and business class. For example, aside from JetBlue, no other US airlines offers premium passengers free Wi-Fi.

That being said, some premium international airlines do offer free Wi-Fi, particularly in first class. For example, this is the case on airlines like All Nippon Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, etc.

Restrictions vary — some airlines offer unlimited free Wi-Fi, while others have data caps.

Cathay Pacific offers free Wi-Fi in first class

Bottom line

Inflight Wi-Fi has come a long way, and I imagine it’s only a matter of time until it’s free on a widespread basis. In the meantime, there are options that can save you some money compared to the “sticker price” you see for Wi-Fi onboard.

Personally I have T-Mobile, so that gets me free Wi-Fi on my mobile device on all Gogo equipped aircraft. I also have a monthly Wi-Fi subscription with American Airlines, since that’s my primary airline in the US. I have a two device plan, which works great, since Ford and I typically travel together. Then for Alaska and Delta I’ll typically purchase a day pass in advance.

Other than that, I’ll typically just pay “out of pocket” for Wi-Fi once onboard.

Are there any other tips for saving on inflight Wi-Fi that I missed?

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  1. Jefferson Guest

    If you fly Southwest, A-List preferred status also gets free WiFi.

  2. Ivan X Guest

    Wasn’t there some card that had 10 free Gogo passes or something? I know Amex Biz doesn’t anymore, but US Bank or something?

  3. The nice Paul Guest

    British Airways is missing from your list of “premium international airlines [which] offer free Wi-Fi, particularly in first class”.

    At first I thought you were making the point that BA isn’t “premium”, but as you included Lufthansa in that list…

  4. Tim Dunn Diamond

    As Delta rapidly replaced gogo w/ viasat, my TMobile benefits diminished dramatically.
    now that they have turned on Skymiles elite benefits and are expanding it to general members, the Wifi benefits are coming to more people quite quickly.
    And while American is likely to offer some version of free Wifi for some people, United will not be able to match for quite some time unless it is very selective by aircraft.They just won't...

    As Delta rapidly replaced gogo w/ viasat, my TMobile benefits diminished dramatically.
    now that they have turned on Skymiles elite benefits and are expanding it to general members, the Wifi benefits are coming to more people quite quickly.
    And while American is likely to offer some version of free Wifi for some people, United will not be able to match for quite some time unless it is very selective by aircraft.They just won't have the quantity of planes with high speed Wifi anywhere near AA or DL.
    Given how much larger DL is than B6,
    Since DL has a much larger fleet of AVOD and high speed Wifi equipped aircraft than any other airline, it will certainly incentivize some passengers to move DL up a tad in the ranking, esp. since DL's on-time performance is so much higher than JetBlue's.

  5. iamhere Guest

    The airline benefit may be for a card that pays for airline incidentals not just one that actually mentions the wifi

  6. Joerg Lorenz Guest

    Hi from Berlin. SAS Scandinavian offers free Wifi in their Premium Economy and Business Class on short and long haul flights. Finnair has free Wifi for their Platinum Customers on long haul flights and 1 hour free for Gold Members. Within Europe it is 1 free hour for all.

  7. Russ Member

    I would also add in that complaining and getting refunds when it (somewhat frequently) fails is also a good way to save money on it!

  8. Sel, D. Guest

    Only need a single device plan if you have a hot-spot capable device. I purchase form my laptop, make it a hotspot, and can then get wifi on my phone as well as the devices of anyone I'm travelling with or a friendly seatmate.

  9. Creditcrunch Diamond

    The Virgin Atlantic credit card also offers free Boingo Wi-Fi on certain VS aircraft. The Curve metal card also offers free Wi-Fi through its Mastercard Affiliation programme.

  10. guisun Gold

    Just a correction here for T-Mobile. Magenta Max gets unlimited full flight wifi, and regular magenta gets 4 full flights of wifi per year, then it reverts to 1 free hour of wifi for the remainder of the year.
    https://www.t-mobile.com/benefits/travel/in-flight-wifi
    Now as a data point. My flight from UA had Thales, which allowed me to use my inflight wifi benefits. Also it seems these wifi are for domestic use only. For example my...

    Just a correction here for T-Mobile. Magenta Max gets unlimited full flight wifi, and regular magenta gets 4 full flights of wifi per year, then it reverts to 1 free hour of wifi for the remainder of the year.
    https://www.t-mobile.com/benefits/travel/in-flight-wifi
    Now as a data point. My flight from UA had Thales, which allowed me to use my inflight wifi benefits. Also it seems these wifi are for domestic use only. For example my AA flight from CUN to CLT did not offer T-Mobile benefits. But did offer on CLT to DCA. UA flight from DCA to ORD also offered wifi T-Mobile benefits. The UA flight from ORD to CUN did offer the benefit as well, but it indicated the the service wouldn't be available once outside continental US, and internet indeed drop after leaving US airspace.

  11. DenB Diamond

    Article didn't mention CitiBusiness AAdvantage Mastercard as a source of a 25% discount. Now I'm questioning my memory...

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ DenB -- It's possible I'm missing something, but I don't see that listed as a benefit of the card?

    2. DenB Diamond

      Confirmed: it's on Citi's website in the "Learn More" for the CitiBusiness Platinum Select Mastercard. 25% discount on inflight Wifi.

    3. DenB Diamond

      My reply to this was deleted or banned or whatever. Ben, I've confirmed on Citi's website that the CitiBusiness® Platinum Select Mastercard does, indeed, include among its benefits a 25% discount on AA WiFi.

  12. LEGALIZE ALL DRUGS Guest

    The average American airline passenger would do well to disconnect from the internet and read a book and increase their knowledge of the world beyond trolls and memes.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      The irony of this comment being made by OMAAT’s newest troll is not lost on me.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

LEGALIZE ALL DRUGS Guest

The average American airline passenger would do well to disconnect from the internet and read a book and increase their knowledge of the world beyond trolls and memes.

1
Jefferson Guest

If you fly Southwest, A-List preferred status also gets free WiFi.

0
Ivan X Guest

Wasn’t there some card that had 10 free Gogo passes or something? I know Amex Biz doesn’t anymore, but US Bank or something?

0
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