When it comes to air travel, one usually thinks of it as a time to disconnect, sit back and catch up on some reading. Airlines don't regularly offer Wifi, which means you can't stay connected on long flights. In fact, most passengers today still fly without Wi-Fi included.
However, that might not be the case anymore. As technology continues to advance, staying connected has become more and more relevant, even when people are thousands of feet in the air.
Below we have compiled a list of airlines that offer WiFi on board, so you don’t have to lose connection while flying. Ever since they recognised this need, many major commercial carriers have started offering onboard WiFi to their passengers.
So, if you’re a frequent flyer and in the mood for a little online relaxation during your flight, keep an eye out for these airlines. By doing that, there's no need to worry about how your next flight will go!
Airlines Offering Free Onboard Wifi
The emergence of onboard Wifi sets a new standard for in-flight experience and connectivity. Many forward-thinking airlines now delight passengers by offering in-flight Wifi services at no extra cost.
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Everyone’s favourite best budget airlineThe airline has been providing free high-speed Wifi service on all of its flights since 2013, setting the forefront for many other air carriers. Passengers enjoy unlimited internet access at no extra cost, which is why many people enjoy flying with JetBlue.
In collaboration with Amazon Prime, the network system is called “Fly-Fi”, which enables passengers to stream Amazon Video during their journey. This is a big plus point in inflight entertainment, considering Amazon’s diverse content and videos. Plus, their fares are among the most reasonable as long as you know how to score the deal.
Norwegian Air is another airline that offers free WiFi on most European routes. Passengers can browse the internet without additional charges, enhancing their overall travel experience. It is the first budget airline to introduce this upgrade.
However, the perk is only available with the airline’s SURF plan and 737-800 planes. You'll need to pay for a premium WiFi package if you want a quicker connection or the ability to stream videos during your flight.
On some of its flights, Philippines Airlines provides free complimentary WiFi with 10 MB of data for all passengers, with an additional 100MB for Business Class travellers.
When users reach their data cap, they may top up an additional amount and pay onboard. The airlines offer a handful of Wifi plans at an affordable cost, so passengers don’t miss the chance to stay connected and catch up with their loved ones.
Air New Zealand
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First operated in late 2018 as a trial on international flights, the inflight Wifi service of Air New Zealand has been gaining a reputation for its high speed and reliability. The air corporation continues extending this innovative amenity to more of its domestic flights. Simply download their app to check if you can surf the web at 30,000 feet in the air.
China Eastern Airlines
As a renowned carrier serving hundreds of domestic and international routes, China Eastern Airlines currently provides Wifi onboard for selected aircraft. After getting the flight tickets, passengers can apply for a free trial of Wifi service on the airline’s official website.
However, it’s important to note that the free trial operates on a first-come, first served basis and can only serve 100 people per flight. To reserve your slot, it is best that you check with the airline in advance and apply as early as possible.
Airlines Offering Free Onboard Wifi With Loyalty Membership
For frequent and devoted travellers, there are also various opportunities to enjoy free in-flight Wifi with airline loyalty memberships. These airlines intertwine the benefits of complimentary WiFi with the advantages of loyalty programs, shaping a new paradigm of inflight convenience and customer appreciation. As usual, the higher your class, the more data you are given, especially those in the First Class.
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If you have Emirates Skywards membership, which is a very popular program with millions of subscribers, you can enjoy flying with free unlimited chatting, and free connection for the whole flight if you fly first-class.
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According to the airline’s latest updates, air travellers in all cabins, from economy to first class, can enjoy free Wifi access, applying to all routes and flights. However, this perk is unavailable on Boeing 737-800 NG flights.
What comes with this is that passengers must be members of the Singapore Airlines loyalty program called “KrisFlyer”. Registration is free; you can sign up for it during booking or at the point of departure.
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Similar to Singapore Airlines, this benefit applies to members of Qatar Airways Privilege Club frequent flyers club (also free to join). They can enjoy one hour of free connectivity onboard, which is good enough to catch up on some texts or emails. If you want to do more data-intensive tasks, simply purchase their Full Flight access plan for an additional $10.
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One of the big players in the air carrier industry, Delta, is the most recent airline in the United States to begin providing free WiFi on its flights. This roll-out just started in early 2023, and the company is expanding the program to more domestic and international routes.
You can expect a connection when flying the Airbus A320 aeroplane family and Boeing 737s. All members of Delta’s SkyMiles frequent flyer program are eligible for these advantages. Sign up for it pre-boarding, and you can enjoy a connected journey with free, unlimited internet access.
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The national carrier of Turkey also provides inflight Wi-Fi on its aircraft, with various options dedicated to short-haul and long-haul flights. They provide free internet access to Business Class travellers as well as Miles&Smiles program subscribers.
Once you are a member, you can enjoy up to 400MB of data and unlimited messaging during your journey up in the air. This gives you the chance to stay connected and work comfortably, and you can always purchase more if you exceed the quota.
Airlines Offering Paid Onboard Wifi
More and more airlines these days are adding onboard Wifi to their entertainment services with extra charges to cater for the needs of certain passengers. Below we will mention and give information on some of the most popular airlines.
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United offers paid Wifi on most of its flights, both domestic and international. A coverage map is available on the airline’s website to make it convenient to look up your flight’s connectivity status.
Depending on the region covered, speed and data allowance, they also have different pricing tiers. For example, a monthly subscription covering North and Central America costs roughly $49, which is still economical when you travel by air frequently.
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One thing that makes Virgin Atlantic Wifi service stand out is the option for voice or video calling, which proves how much they invest in Wifi quality and speed. The airline Wifi plans range from £2.99 to £14.99, catering for different needs and purposes. With the premium quality and ranking, it’s worth a shot.
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The renowned British Airways is also launching paid Wifi access on many of its flights, both short and long hauls. Passengers can purchase Wifi packages based on the duration of their flight, ranging from one hour to full-flight access.
These Wifi packages let you take messages, browse the internet as well as streaming video contents. The most popular plan costs £8 for one hour and £24 for the entire flight.
On specific occasions, British Airways also offers discounts or coupon codes so that passengers can save significantly on their internet spending onboard. You can check out the airline’s Facebook page or website for more information about these offers.
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Lufthansa also provides three different Wifi plans, including FlyNetChat, FlyNetMail and Surf and FlyNetStream; hence it allows passengers to choose the option that best suits their needs.
The inflight Wifi service of Lufthansa can be purchased at a minimum price starting from £3, which is perfect for those who just need to catch up with their families via chatting. In case of work, email sending or movie streaming, Lufthansa also has an ideal package to suit your needs.
Once seated, look for the airline magazine in the seat pocket in front of you, which contains detailed instructions on How to Connect to Lufthansa Wifi.
Airlines Set To Offer Free Wifi
In response to the modern traveller's demand, airlines worldwide are gearing up to provide this revolutionary amenity. Some popular airlines have announced their plans to introduce complimentary onboard WiFi on their upcoming flights.
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Starting Wednesday, August 2nd, Swiss Air will launch its in-flight Wifi offering for passengers in all classes on long-haul flights. With no limit on data, this program should satisfy the increasing need to stay connected with families and friends.
The catch? You can only use the network for message applications such as Whatsapp, Telegram and Messenger. Those who wish to do more, such as browsing the web, can also opt for two other paid options.
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Hawaiian Airlines is set to offer a notable amenity, which is free Wifi on long-haul flights. Using SpaceX’s product Starlink, it plans to provide fast internet access onboard completely free of charge. This feature is set to roll out in 2024, with several discounts for early booking. The only downside is that neighbour island flights are excluded from this perk.
1. How Does Onboard Wifi Work?
Onboard WiFi is a game-changer for travellers who want to stay connected, even in the skies. Photo by BullRun - stock.adobe.com
When you think of Wifi, you might think about using the Internet in a local setting. However, when flying hundreds of miles above the ground at a fast speed, operating Wifi is a more complex process.
The plane acts as a hotspot to connect signals from land to the sky and vice versa, called an Air-to-ground (ATG) system. The aircraft’s antennae provide signals to the cabin server, which distributes them via a Wifi network, allowing passengers to browse the internet.
2. How Do I Know If My Flight Has Wifi?
The easiest way is to check directly with the airline. These days it is even easier since you can look up the information on their websites or mobile apps without the need to call. Simply look for the specific flight you are interested in and click on the amenities or services section, then it will show if that particular flight has Wifi available.
3. How Fast Is The Wifi On A Plane?
The speed of inflight Wifi might vary depending on a number of factors, such as satellite communication or the number of passengers using the service.
Usually, with its modest speed, the plane’s Wifi is best used for simple tasks like messaging or checking emails. Streaming videos and calls might also be plausible to some extent. After all, your devices are given a mere 15 megabits per second.
However, with airlines trying to improve the speed and reliability of onboard Wifi, passengers can expect to enjoy better connectivity while in the air very soon.
The Bottom Line
Airlines that offer wifi onboard have transformed from a luxury to a necessity, and it is expected to continue growing in importance in the future. The convenience it adds to the air travel experience makes Wifi onboard a sought-after amenity for travellers worldwide.
So next time you plan your trip, consider choosing an airline that keeps you connected. The above list should help you to narrow down the carriers but don’t forget to check with airlines for availability and pricing before your trip.
What is your experience with airlines that offer Wifi onboard? Feel free to leave a comment below! And don’t forget to spread the word so that everyone can enjoy binge-watching their favourite shows in the air, just as you are.