United Airlines Introduces Free Inflight Messaging

United Airlines Introduces Free Inflight Messaging

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United Airlines is introducing free inflight messaging, which is great for customers…

How United’s free messaging works

As of today (Friday, December 17, 2021), United Airlines is rolling out free inflight messaging. Specifically, travelers can connect to United’s inflight Wi-Fi network on select aircraft, and then they should see the option to message for free using any of the following three messaging services:

  • Facebook Messenger
  • iMessage
  • WhatsApp

While there are no data caps, you’ll only be able to send texts and emojis, so you won’t be able to send pictures or other files.

United’s new inflight messaging feature will progressively be rolled out throughout the fleet. United’s inflight messaging is available:

  • On all A319/A320 aircraft
  • On all 737 aircraft
  • On select 757-200s, and all 757-200s by March 2022
  • On all 757-300s
  • On select 767s, and all 767s by March 2022
  • On all 787-8s
  • On select 787-9s, and all 787-9s by June 2022
  • On all 787-10s
  • On all 777s
  • On all CRJ-550s
  • On all CRJ-700s
  • On select E170/175s, and all E170/E175s by January 2022

The inflight messaging won’t be available on CRJ-200 and E145 aircraft, as these planes don’t feature Wi-Fi.

United now offers free inflight messaging

How does this compare to offerings on other airlines?

United Airlines is definitely playing catch-up here, rather than leading the way:

  • Delta offers free messaging through the same three services, and the airline is working towards introducing free Wi-Fi across the board
  • Alaska also offers free messaging through the same three services
  • Southwest offers free messaging through iMessage and WhatsApp
  • JetBlue offers free high speed Wi-Fi with virtually no restrictions
  • American briefly trialed free messaging back in late 2020, but that has been discontinued since

So United is catching up with Alaska, Delta, and Southwest here (and everyone is catching up with JetBlue), but the airline is beating American. The catch with United’s connectivity continues to be that the airline doesn’t have high speed Wi-Fi across the board. While American doesn’t offer free messaging, the airline does have Viasat Wi-Fi on most planes, which is in my opinion the best that you’ll find out there.

JetBlue offers free high speed Wi-Fi with no caps

Bottom line

United Airlines is introducing free inflight messaging as of today. Most aircraft now feature this, and all remaining aircraft with Wi-Fi should have this feature by June 2022. It’s great to see United roll this out, as free messaging always helps with passing the time on a flight.

What do you make of United introducing free inflight messaging?

Conversations (21)
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  1. BG Guest

    Yay! I use WhatsApp on southwest all the time. They let me send pictures.

  2. Divas Allen Guest

    I love United airlinessssss

  3. Daniel Guest

    Confirmed it works. Currently on UA 187 Johannesburg to Newark.
    I signed on right after we took of. In the App you have to manually turn on the feature.

  4. Levy Flight Guest

    This is handy.

  5. jan b Skogstrom Guest

    What took them so long?

  6. Whoa Guest

    This is annoying. One of the features of flying is to disconnect for a few hours.

    I bet 99.99% of those conversations will be: "I am in the plane", "just served dinner". You can't wait until you land? If not, you have a serious problem.

    1. Ray Gold

      Agreed. I always appreciated the “my time” and even better with an upgrade. Just hope my employer and customers don’t hear about this. Haha

    2. Mike C Gold

      I agree, there is absolutely no urgency or even any point in texting 'just served dinner' if you can't include a photo of it.

    3. mikem132 Guest

      There's a cloud that looks like a unicorn!

  7. R T Guest

    "American briefly trialed free messaging back in late 2020, but that has been discontinued since"

    AA seems to be testing free Facebook Messenger on Viasat-equipped aircraft again. (Had this twice in the past week.)

  8. CH Guest

    Is this just for US domestic flights? 48 lower states only or AK and HI too?

    1. Swanee Guest

      I'm on UA384 to Honolulu writing this

  9. Peter Guest

    Wow, what a day. Just got Oneworld Sapphire via the Finnair miles sale . Thanks Ben!

    Perhaps a lucky winner can sublet Ben’s QSuites residence if he holds an OMAAdvantageT sweepstakes giveaway next year.

    Really curious what percentage of AAdvantage miles (about to be) in circulation came about from this SimplyMiles offer.

    1. Peter Guest

      Sorry. No idea how my comment ended up in this post.

    2. Eskimo Guest

      Consider that you were in on the donations, why would you buy AY miles?

      If redeeming premium cabin is part of your redemptions, having OW Sapphire doesn't really get you anything special.

  10. Barney Guest

    Did this just now on my flight LAX - SYD and it was great.

  11. Steven E Guest

    Oh wow - such luxury - what about free wifi ?

  12. Andrew B Guest

    It would probably be too optimistic to expect American airlines to follow this trend.

  13. Jdawg Guest

    Great news for United travelers!

    Southwest also has free messaging.

  14. bobby J Guest

    I really wish this was free in flight massaging, like I initially read ;)

    1. Eskimo Guest

      Don't expect any happy endings on United ;)

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.

BG Guest

Yay! I use WhatsApp on southwest all the time. They let me send pictures.

0
Divas Allen Guest

I love United airlinessssss

0
mikem132 Guest

There's a cloud that looks like a unicorn!

0
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