You’re getting ready for your next trip and starting to plan for how you’re going to occupy yourself on your hours-long flight. You pull up Google and search, “Does Southwest have Wi-Fi?” Streaming episodes of your favorite Netflix show is your go-to for killing some time, so why not see if you can do it while you’re en-route to your destination?
If this scenario sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Accessing the internet while streaking through the clouds has become more and more common, so much so that travelers are looking for flights that will allow them to text, browse, stream, and buy from their favorite connected device. For travelers like you, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to which major airlines offer Wi-Fi, where you can find the best deals on access, and how to find the best travel credit cards with this perk.
Which airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi — and how much does it cost?
Like Wi-Fi reception can often be, the quality and offers of in-flight Wi-Fi can vary from provider to provider. Here is a list of 20 major national and international carriers and what you can expect for Wi-Fi offerings and prices.
|Carrier||In-flight Wi-Fi offered?||Cost of in-flight Wi-Fi|
|Air China||Yes||Information not listed on Air China site|
|Air France—KLM||Yes||Message Pass - free
Surf Pass -
|Alaska Airlines||Yes. Most planes are equipped with Gogo ATG4 access. Some have Gogo 2Ku satellite Wi-Fi.||Prices range from $1.95 to $49.95 inflight. The following are prices for purchasing pre-flight passes through Gogo.
You can connect to Alaska Airlines Wi-Fi and take advantage of their free texting option, which works with iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp.
|All Nippon Airways (ANA)||Yes||Certain ANA flights are equipped with in-flight Wi-Fi. For flights that have Wi-Fi connectivity, First class passengers get unlimited access for free. Pricing for all other passengers is as follows, and pricing varies based on the type of Wi-Fi connectivity on a particular flight:
*Fair use limits apply.
|American Airlines||Yes||Most American Airlines flights in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico use Gogo and Viasat for in-flight Wi-Fi. The company website says almost all routes have Wi-Fi access starting at $10. There is also a one-device monthly plan for $49.95 available through Gogo and a two-device plan for $59.95. These plans don’t apply to flights that use Panasonic Wi-Fi services.|
British Airways began offering Wi-Fi service in 2018, with a goal of having most eligible aircraft equipped by the end of 2020.
You are notified of availability after you board, and prices start at £4.99.
|Cathay Pacific||Yes on Airbus A350 planes, with more being added to Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft. You can check if your flight has Wi-Fi using the website’s Flight Status tool.||Certain Cathay Pacific flights are equipped with Wi-Fi access. Here’s how much it costs to connect:
|Delta||Yes||Nearly all planes are equipped with Wi-Fi access through Gogo.
You can connect to Delta Wi-Fi and take advantage of their free texting option, which works with iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp.
|Emirates||Yes||For Emirates Skywards members, the cost and Wi-Fi packages vary by membership tier and route:
For non-members, cost and Wi-Fi options vary by route. No further information is available on the Emirates website.
|Finnair||Yes||Within Europe and the Middle East:
Within Finland, Scandinavia, and Baltic Countries:
To and From Asia North America, Havana, Puerto Plata:
|JetBlue||Yes||Free on all flights for all classes of ticket.|
|Korean Air||No||Plans to outfit the fleet with Wi-Fi access was announced in June 2019.|
|Lufthansa||Yes||Short/medium-haul FlyNet mail and surf:
Short/medium-haul FlyNet stream:
Long haul FlyNet chat: €7
FlyNet mail and surf: €17
FlyNet mail and surf plus: €29
|Norwegian Air||Yes on select flights.||Free for all passengers to use for browsing, email, and messaging. For streaming, and faster browsing, you can purchase 3 hours of premium access to faster Wi-Fi for $14.95.|
|Qantas||Yes on select Australian domestic flights||Free|
|Qatar Airways||Yes. Some flights offer standard Wi-Fi through OnAir. Some offer faster, satellite-based Super Wi-Fi.||Free on some flights booked through QatarAirways.com.
The airline website doesn’t provide details about its rates for accessing in-flight Wi-Fi. However, several online sources report that passengers get 30 minutes of access to OnAir Wi-Fi and 60 minutes of Super Wi-Fi for free. After that, you’re prompted to choose a plan that can cost between $10 and $20.
|Ryanair||No||Ryanair executives have no plans to add in-flight Wi-Fi to their aircraft.|
|Southwest||Yes||$8 for all-day access to Wi-Fi on enabled plane
Free for A-List Preferred Members
|United||Yes on all United and two-cabin United Express aircraft||United uses Gogo, Panasonic, Thales, and ViaSat services to provide in-flight Wi-Fi. Prices and providers vary from flight to flight. United also offers the following subscription options.
|Virgin Atlantic||Yes||Pricing starts at £2.99 and can go as high as £14.99.|
Credit cards that come with an in-flight Wi-Fi perk
Just like some travel credit cards offer miles, points, and credits for flying, some also offer free Wi-Fi access as a special perk. If staying connected is an important part of your travel experience, not having to pay for service can be a big advantage for you.
Most of the free Wi-Fi benefits are for access to either Gogo or Boingo, both of which are popular service providers for airlines. Check which service your preferred airline uses before looking into which credit cards might be right for you. Each service has its own merits, but for the sake of our guide, both are equally good choices.
If you have an American Express card or have heard about American Express’s free Wi-Fi benefits for its The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, those days are over as of Jan. 1, 2020. They have severed their contracts with both Boingo and Gogo to provide complimentary access to these services. Here are some of the best airline credit cards and travel cards that offer the perk to consider.
|Card name||Wi-Fi perk details||Annual fee|
|U.S. Bank Altitude® Reserve Visa Infinite® Card||12 free passes to access Gogo Wi-Fi annually||$400|
|HSBC Premier World Mastercard Credit Card||Unlimited access to Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots around the world||$0|
|HSBC Elite Credit Card||Unlimited access to Boingo Wi-Fi hotspots around the world.||$395|
|Southwest® Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card||Statement credits to reimburse for Wi-Fi purchases on Southwest Airlines flights paid with this card. There is a limit of 365 $8-credits per year.||$199|
|UBS Visa Infinite Credit Card||12 free passes to access Gogo Wi-Fi annually||$495|
The final word on in-flight Wi-Fi
Airline Wi-Fi is a must for most business travelers and a nice add-on for those who fly for pleasure. There are lots of things you can do before leaving for the airport that will keep you entertained and engaged while offline on your flight. However, if you can get the Wi-Fi for free, why not go for it?
Some of the airlines on our list offer Wi-Fi prices low enough that adding them into your travel budget is no biggie. Whether you pay or not, you now have the information you need to shop specific carriers and research travel credit cards. Now it’s up to you to decide what works best for how you travel.
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