In-flight WiFi — companies offering WiFi on planes

Do you miss those days when you had to bring a book on a flight to read and relax and forget about the world even if for a couple hours? This almost never happens anymore with the in-flight WiFi. You get on a plane and jump right back into the mailbox to stay connected.

How does in-flight WiFi work?


To put it simple, there are two ways Internet signal can reach you at the height of 35,000 feet. First is using the broadband towers sending the powerful signals to the aircraft antennas (usually located on the fuselage base — the belly of a plane).

As the aircraft moves, it automatically reconnects to the nearest tower on Earth. However if you are travelling over remote terrain for too long, there can be a lack of connectivity.

Second way of getting WiFi on planes is using satellite technology. Aircraft connects to satellites in geostationary orbit (35,786km high), and they transmit signals to Earth via receivers and transmitters. These satellites are the same used in TV, weather forecasting, and secret military operations.

Data is transmitted via an antenna that is located on the top of an aircraft and connects to the closest satellite. The Internet signal is distributed among the passengers with a router located on board.

With both methods, US air companies have a better developed infrastructure than carriers in other countries. Subsequently the US carriers offer a better and often cheaper WiFi on plane than European carriers.

Why is in-flight WiFi slow?


Although technology is developing at an impressive pace, it has still to catch up with the number of devices on board that are desperate to connect to the Internet.

When an in-flight broadband company Gogo (previously known as Aircell) launched its first WiFi service in 2008, the 3 Mbps speed was just enough for several computers on board (video streaming was blocked). However now that it's getting so popular every passenger will connect at least one device to the network. A satellite connection will offer around 12 Mbps, which is much better, however very expensive and high-maintenance.

If an even WiFi signal needs to be distributed on board of a plane, one can use the NetSpot app for a detailed coverage analysis and correct placement of access points in the aircraft.

What makes in-flight WiFi so expensive?


Naturally all the advanced technologies with such high-maintenance equipment don't come cheap, especially if you add an aircraft to the equation. Antennas also increase drag, adding fuel costs to the airline’s bill.

Every little expense, including maintenance and engineering will reflect on the end customer. The price on in-flight connectivity can vary from company to company, and free inflight WiFi trial is usually offered by a handful of airlines.

List of Airlines that offer free in-flight Wi-Fi

  • Emirates
  • Qatar Airways
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Norwegian
  • Turkish Airlines
  • Air China
  • China Eastern
  • Nok Air

Make sure to check the restrictions these free WiFi services come with: some will only be available for laptops and tablets, some will only be offered on domestic flights.


Find out which airlines offer inflight Internet access

Airlines offering inflight WiFi

Find out which airlines offer inflight Internet access
  • Aer Lingu
    Providers: Panasonic Avionics, AeroMobile and Deutsche Telekom
    Price: Business class passengers — free; 1 hour pass — €10.95/$14.95; 24 hour pass — €19.95/$24.95

  • Aeroflot
    Providers: OnAir
    Price: Smartphone: 3MB — $8; 9MB — $22. Laptop or iPad: 9MB — $22; 19MB — $40

  • AirAsia
    Provider: ROKKi wifi service allows passengers to use ROKKi chats to send text messages over Whatsapp, WeChat and LINE.
    Price: RM8 to use ROKKi Chats

  • Air Berlin
    Provider: Panasonic
    Price: €4.90 for 30 min/20MB; €8.90 60 min/50MB; €13.90 duration of entire med-haul flight/90MB; €18.90 full flight package (long-haul flights)/120MB data.

  • Air Canada
    Provider:Gogo
    Price: Gogo Unlimited $49.95/month (unlimited internet on all Gogo equipped airlines); Gogo All Day Pass $14 (24 hours of internet access on the same airline); 1-Hour Pass $5 (internet access on any single domestic Gogo equipped flight); The Traveler Pass $39.95 (monthly subscription for unlimited internet on one Gogo equipped airline)

  • Air China
    Provider: Current provider not specified. (To be the first to try GX Aviation on A330s, high speed broadband connection, estimated for 2nd quarter 2015)
    Price: Free (but not allowed on smartphones).

  • Air France
    Provider: Orange
    Price: TBA

  • AirTra
    Provider: Gogo
    Price: Gogo Unlimited $49.95/month (unlimited internet on all Gogo equipped airlines); Gogo All Day Pass $14 (24 hours of internet access on the same airline); 1-Hour Pass $5 (internet access on any single domestic Gogo equipped flight); The Traveler Pass $39.95 (monthly subscription for unlimited internet on one Gogo equipped airline)

  • Alaska Airline
    Provider: Gogo
    Price: Gogo Unlimited $49.95/month (unlimited internet on all Gogo equipped airlines); Gogo All Day Pass $14 (24 hours of internet access on the same airline); 1-Hour Pass $5 (internet access on any single domestic Gogo equipped flight); The Traveler Pass $39.95 (monthly subscription for unlimited internet on one Gogo equipped airline)

  • All Nippon Airways
    Provider: OnAir
    Price: 5MB — $6; 10MB — $12; 20MB — $24

  • American Airlines
    Provider: Gogo
    Price: Domestic flights WiFi prices: All Day Pass $14 (24 hours of internet access on AA/US Airways flights); The Traveler Pass $39.95 (monthly subscription for unlimited internet on on AA/US Airways flights); International flights WiFi prices: 2 Hour Pass $12, 4 Hour Pass $17, Duration of Flight Pass $19

  • ANA
    Provider: OnAir
    Price: 5MB for $6USD; 10MB for $12USD; 20MB for $24USD

  • British Airways
    Provider: T-Mobile
    Price: £8 (~$14USD) for 1 hour, or £15 (~$25USD) for 24 hours

  • Cebu Pacific Air
    Provider: OnAir
    Price: 25MB — $5; 50MB — $10

  • China Eastern Airlines
    Provider: AsiaSat-6 satellite
    Price: TBA

  • Delta Air Lines
    Provider: Delta Connect & Gogo. Delta will be providing Gogo’s new 2ku satellite service on long haul domestic flights and in 2016, for all long haul fleets.
    Price: New 2ku satellite service: TBA. Mobile Pass starting at $1.95; Gogo Unlimited $49.95/month (unlimited internet on all Gogo equipped airlines); Gogo All Day Pass $14 (24 hours of internet access on the same airline); The Traveler Pass $39.95 (monthly subscription for unlimited internet on one Gogo equipped airline); Delta Annual Pass $469.95

  • Egypt Air
    Provider: OnAir
    Price: 2 price packages available based on time and usage

  • Emirates
    Provider: OnAir
    Price: 10MB free in all classes on A380 aircraft. 500MB available for purchase starting at USD 1 on select A380 and B777 aircraft that do not offer free wifi.

  • Etihad
    Provider: Wi-Fly
    Price: 24-hour pass $24.95; 1-hour pass $13.95; Free for Etihad’s Diamond First Class passengers

  • EVA Air
    Provider: Sky Wi-Fi provided by Deutsche Telekom
    Price: 11.95 USD for 1 hour; 16.95 USD for 3 hours; 21.95 USD for 24 hours

  • Finnair
    Provider: TBD
    Price: TBD

  • Frontier Airlines
    Provider: Gogo
    Price: Gogo Unlimited $49.95/month (unlimited internet on all Gogo equipped airlines); Gogo All Day Pass $14 (24 hours of internet access on the same airline); 1-Hour Pass $5 (internet access on any single domestic Gogo equipped flight); The Traveler Pass $39.95 (monthly subscription for unlimited internet on one Gogo equipped airline)

  • Garuda Indonesia
    Provider: OnAir
    Price: Aboard B777-300ER — Executive Class & Economy Class passengers: $11.95 1 hour unlimited browsing or $21.95 for an unlimited 24-hours. First Class passengers: free. Aboard Airbus 330-200/300 — Executive Class & Economy Class passengers: mobile $2.49/$9.95 (3MB/10MB); laptop $9.95/$21.95 (10MB/25MB). First Class passengers: free.

  • GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes
    Provider: Gogo
    Price: TBA

  • Gulf Air
    Provider: Panasonic
    Price: Unlimited MB $15/BHD 6 per hour ; Unlimited MB $30/BHD 11 for 24 hours

  • HongKong Airlines
    Provider: OnAir
    Price: Free

  • Iberia
    Provider: OnAir
    Price: Smartphones and tablets: 4MB for $4.95 or 22MB for $19.95. iPad: 22MB for $19.95 or 50MB for $39.95.

  • Icelandair
    Provider: Row44
    Price: Economy class: Exact pricing TBA. Saga Class passengers and Saga Gold members: Free.

  • JAL
    Provider: T-Mobile
    Price: 1 hour — $11.96; 24 hours — $21.95

  • JetBlue
    Provider: LiveTV
    Price: Simply Surf basic version: Free; Fly-Fi Plus: $9/hour streaming

  • Lufthansa
    Provider: Panasonic
    Price: HotSpot Pass Sky 1 hour: €9 or 3,000 miles; 4 hours: €14 or 4,500 miles; 24 hours: €17 or 5,500 miles

  • Libyan Airlines
    Provider: OnAir
    Price: no information

  • Malindo Air
    Provider: Panasonic Avionics (eXConnect in-flight broadband connectivity)
    Price: 4 packages that range from 30 mins (USD 6.95), 1 hour (USD 11.95), 3 hours (USD 16.95) and 12 hours (USD 21.95). You can use a credit card to purchase in the portal.

  • Mango Airlines
    Provider: G-Connect
    Price: 30MB R 29.00; 60MB R 49.00

  • Nok Air
    Provider: Thaicom PLC
    Price: Free

  • Norwegian
    Provider: Row44
    Price: Free

  • Oman Air
    Provider: OnAir
    Price: On smartphone $5—15; Laptops/in-flight entertainment screen $15—40

  • Philippine Airlines (PAL)
    Provider: OnAir
    Price: Free

  • Qatar Airways
    Provider: OnAir
    Price: Prices depends on the passenger’s network provider’s international roaming charges.

  • Ryanair
    Provider: unknown
    Price: TBD. However, may be free for e-mail access only

  • SAS
    Provider: Panasonic
    Price: SAS Go passengers: €8 (within Nordic countries) €12 within Europe. SAS Plus & EuroBonus members: Free.

  • Saudia
    Provider: OnAir

  • Singapore Airlines
    Provider: OnAir or Panasonic
    Price: Depends on time or MB usage

  • Southwest Airlines
    Provider: Row 44
    Price: $8 all day, per device

  • TAM
    Provider: OnAir
    Price: Prices depends on the passenger’s network provider’s international roaming charges.

  • TAP Portugal
    Provider: OnAir
    Price: 4MB €6 or 10MB €12

  • THAI Airways
    Provider: OnAir
    Price: THAI Sky Connect Smartphone users: $4.50/146 baht for 3 megabytes or $14.50 for 10 MB; Laptop or tablet users: $14.50 for 10 MB and $28.50 for 20 MB. Business Class passengers: Free 3-month trial.

  • Transaero
    Provider: Panasonic
    Price: Long-haul flights — RUB 800 for the duration of the flight, or RUB 400/hour. Medium-haul flights — RUB 600 for all-flight internet connection, or RUB 300/hour

  • Turkish Airlines
    Provider: Panasonic
    Price: Free for business travelers during an introductory period

  • United
    Provider: Gogo
    Price: Unlimited access on United flights $17. Gogo Unlimited $49.95/month (unlimited internet on all Gogo equipped airlines); Gogo All Day Pass $14 (24 hours of internet access on the same airline); 1-Hour Pass $5 (internet access on any single domestic Gogo equipped flight); The Traveler Pass $39.95 (monthly subscription for unlimited internet on one Gogo equipped airline).

  • US Airways
    Provider: Gogo
    Price: All Day Pass $14 (24 hours of internet access on AA/US Airways flights); The Traveler Pass $39.95 (monthly subscription for unlimited internet on on AA/US Airways flights)

  • Vietnam Airlines
    Provider: Gogo
    Price: TBD. Estimated at $15—$20 on international flights and possibly free on domestic.

  • Virgin America
    Provider: Gogo
    Price: 30-minute session $2; Gogo Unlimited $49.95/month (unlimited internet on all Gogo equipped airlines); Gogo All Day Pass $14 (24 hours of internet access on the same airline); 1-Hour Pass $5 (internet access on any single domestic Gogo equipped flight); The Traveler Pass $39.95 (monthly subscription for unlimited internet on one Gogo equipped airline)

  • Vueling
    Providers: Telefónica will use LiveTV’s high-speed technology with Eutelsat’s AIR ACCE. Service with KA-SAT satellite
    Price: TBA

  • WestJet
    Provider: Panasonic
    Price: TBA


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