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A Guide to WiFi in the Sky

Updated 29 January 2015

Travellers are demanding more from airlines these days and nowhere more so than with wifi during their in-flight experience. So here’s an update on the wifi and costs offered on airlines.

Gogo

One company that dominates the airways in the US is Aircell’s Gogo service. Aircell sets the pricing strategy so airlines using its services can’t undercut their rivals to woo travellers.

Gogo’s services are available on Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin Atlantic.

There are four staggered services from Gogo:

  • All day pass:, 24 hours continuous access on the same airline, and available on all participating airlines, and for one year, the cost $16.
  • One-hour pass: Travellers can opt for a one-hour pass, which, again, is 60 minutes of access on any single domestic Gogo equipped flight, and expires within 30 days of purchase. Cost is $5.
  • All flights, monthly service: If you’re looking unlimited monthly internet on all Gogo equipped flights, the cost is $59.95.
  • Selected flights, monthly service: It’s fourth service, costing $49.95 a month, will provide unlimited internet on chosen airlines: either US Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Delta and Alaska Airlines.

The services are available on Gogo equipped flights operating between destinations within the US, Canada and Mexico, where network coverage is available.

Onair

Onair is another wifi provider with 21 airlines on board and hopes of taking that 27 as business grows.

The airlines it services include British Airways, Aeroflot, All Nippon Airways, AZAL, Cebu Pacific Air, Egyptair, Emirates, Etihad, Hong Kong Airlines, Iberia, Libyan Airlines, Oman Air, Philippine Airlines, Qatar Airways, Royal Jordanian, Saudia, Singapore Airlines, Tam Airlines and Thai Airlines.

Airlines

Aeroflot
Aeroflot uses OnAir, with plans for a roll out of wifi on 38 other planes by 2016.

Air Canada
Currently offers Gogo to customers on select A-319 aircraft travelling between destinations within Canada, the US and Mexico, where network coverage is available. In the near future, Gogo will be available on A-320, A-321,and E190 aircraft.

Alaska Air
It offers Gogo on nearly every flight operating across the US, and on most flights to/from/within the state of Alaska. All of Alaska’s B737-700, B737-800, B737-900 aircraft are equipped for Gogo.

American Airlines and US Airways
Gogo is available to all American Airlines and US Airways customers on over 825 aircraft, including its Airbus A319, A320, A321, B737, MD80, E190, E170, B757 Domestic, CRJ-900 and E175 planes.

US Airways, on its website, says internet is available once you’re above 10,000 feet, but crucially suggests that full internet access starts at $4.95, and will vary by flight length and device. The service is also only available up to 100 miles beyond the US border.

On American Airlines, its new 777-300ER and select 777-200 planes are equipped with International Wi-Fi. Travellers can buy the following passes: 2-hour pass: $12; 4-hour pass: $17 and $19 for the flight duration.

British Airways
BA uses OnAir for in-flight connectivity, but with the system using GSM laptops require a dongle and a roaming plan. Recently it announced that passengers on European British Airways flights will soon be offered wifi as well. The airline hopes the partnership with satellite firm Inmarsat will help it push ahead of rivals with the lure of super-fast and reliable internet across European airspace.

Delta
Offers Gogo services on more than 3,500 daily flights on average across more than 850 aircraft on its global fleet which has 21 types of aircraft. There are also in-flight wifi Mobile Pass options for as low as $1.95.

EgyptAir
Egyptair is an OnAir user, and with wifi onboard its new A330-300 fleet.

Emirates
Prices depending on data usage. Costs for mobile on A380 flights go from $2.75 for 5MB to $15 for 30MB. Laptop packages on A380 flights begin at $5 for 30MB and as high as $15 for 100MB.

Etihad
In October 2014, it reached a milestone with the deployment of mobile and internet connectivity across its entire fleet of 24 Boeing 777 passenger aircraft. This milestone comes only months before the airline’s entire fleet of 89 passenger aircraft is connected, which will make Etihad Airways the first in the region and one of the few airlines in the world, to offer mobile and internet connectivity services on every aircraft. The passenger fleet includes 28 Airbus A320s, 26 A330s, 11 A340s and 24 Boeing 777 family aircraft. Packages to access the internet start at US$5 and can be purchased using credit cards, PayPal and a range of other convenient payment methods. Mobile telephone usage will be billed by the guest’s mobile service providers based on the international roaming rates levied by the service providers.

Finnair
Finnair has been thinking about wireless connectivity since 2005, but only late last year did it run a two-month wifi test. It seems the airline is still weighing up its options following passengers’ feedback. As of now, there is still no wifi available, however it does offer calling and internet-access via OnAir allowing to you to send emails via satellite phone on its A330-300s and A340-300s.

Frontier Airlines
Wifi is available on its Embraer 190 aircraft and is powered by Gogo. However, Frontier advises wifi access prices will vary on the length of flight. Frequent Frontier flyers can also pre-purchase a Traveler Pass — for $24.95

Japan Airlines
Available on flights from Tokyo (Narita) to New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Jakarta. Prices range from: one hour for $11.95 and 24 hours for $21.95, with prices decreasing if using these credit cards to pay: JAL Card, JAL USA Card and JAL/Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Credit Card.

JetBlue
JetBlue’s own wifi experience, Fly-Fi, is now available on a number of JetBlue aircraft, and is working to install this new service across its fleet. During its beta rollout, it will offer free basic browsing under its Simply Surf service. It’s high-bandwidth plan Fly-Fi Plus is available for $9 an hour.

Lufthansa
Its fleet has Lufthansa FlyNet broadband internet access, other than its A380 and Boeing 747-8 aircraft. Pricing options are: passengers with smartphones and WLAN-enabled laptops: 1 hour, 9 Euros; 4 hours, 14 Euros; and 17 Euros for 24 hours.

Norwegian Air
Norwegian was the first airline to offer high-speed broadband on flights within Europe. Following a 2014 upgrade, another 74 of its 76 737-800 aircrafts now offer free WiFi on board.

Oman Air
Serviced by OnAir, costs range from $5-15 for a smartphone to $15-40 for laptops/in-flight entertainment screen. From 2012 to 2013, the number of Oman Air’s passengers logging on to the OnAir networks increased by 45%, and 85% more data was used. OnAir predicts that Oman Air will see a doubling of Wi-Fi usage in 2014.

Qatar Airways
Wifi is available in business class, while its Dreamliner offers inflight wifi. Prices vary depending on the flight and the passenger’s network provider’s international roaming charges.

Saudia Airlines
Offers in-flight phone and wifi internet service using OnAir aboard, with prices dependent on your mobile phone service provider and the connection package you buy.

Singapore Airlines
Price plans are reflected on the connectivity portal when travellers connect onboard. Depending on the connectivity service provider, the price plans available may either be volume-based (e.g. US$9.99 for 10 MB) or time-based (eg. US$11.95 for 1 hour).

Southwest
Internet access for $8 a day per device on wifi-enabled aircraft on domestic US flights. However, it also charges $5 per movie per device.

United Airlines
Gogo is available on its B757-500, with travellers on its Premium Service transcontinental flights between New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
UA is presently upgrading its fleet for wifi and advises that pricing for Internet access will vary and will be determined and charged by flight segment (from takeoff to landing).

Virgin America
Gogo is available on its A319 and A320s, and power outlets at every seat.

If there is an airline that we should add to the list and monitor for updates, let us know in comments below.

What do you think about WiFi in the sky?  Will you connect if you have to pay for service or do you prefer to disconnect during your flights? 

Editorial Staff

A great group of writers who enjoy sharing the latest airport and airline news with SleepingInAirports readers. Send a news tip or article suggestion to editor@sleepinginairports.com.

4 comments

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  • used etihad’s service on a flight from abu dhabi to sydney. service quality was pretty good. think speeds were about 300k/sec in downloading documents but the latency is still a big issue. their service centres are based in germany so sites outside europe may suffer. i was happily playing WoW at 800ms-950ms and hearthstone without too much problems. able to watch youtube easily so skype calls shouldn’t be a problem i paid $21.95 USD for the 24 hour pass.

  • as for emirates, the one which i had recently, december 2013, the cost was us$1 for 600mb And airasia had wifi on the sky as well, 3mb for 5 (malaysian) ringgit.

  • Thank you for providding this information. It was is a great blog especially for people who are looking for a good travel option or airline. Air Blue seems like a good option. It is reasonable and provides good qulaity services to the customers.

  • I personally prefer oman air because it offers the best service to it’s passenger which includes WiFi and other entertainment features. This blog is very informative so thank you for writing this blog and sharing it.

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