Things to Know About WiFi on Planes & a Review of Gogo

For many travelers, especially frequent business travelers, having WiFi on planes is not their cup of tea. It’s simply the only time they can really disconnect. I understand and can appreciate that, but for me, and many other travelers, having WiFi on planes is soaring in popularity. If I can crank out work for a few hours – undisturbed – on a plane, I  consider that flight to be grand. However, WiFi on planes is not all that common just yet; a recent survey found only about 38 percent of flights have inflight Internet service. So what airlines have WiFi? How do you know if your specific flight offers it? Can you book a flight based on whether or not it has WiFi? And does inflight Internet service even work?

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Review of Gogo, Inflight Internet Service

I discovered Gogo earlier this year but had not had the opportunity to use the inflight Internet service until now. I was pretty psyched when I saw the WiFi logo on the overhead baggage area on TWO back-to-back flights I had. Once my first flight reached 10,000 feet and we were given the green light that it’s ok to turn on portable electronic devices I was able to connect to the “gogoinflight” signal and log in. Note, you have to have an account to use Gogo but you don’t have to signup for one before the flight; you can create an account in mid-air.

I wasn’t sure just how fast Gogo would be at 30,000 feet. Not only did I connect to the service quickly but the speed of the connection in the air didn’t skip a beat. Frankly, it seemed faster than my Comcast high-speed WiFi connection at home. My verdict: Gogo inflight Internet service should be on all flights.

 

So Which Airlines Have WiFi?

A majority of flights by the major U.S. airlines still don’t offer inflight Internet service. A new report from Routehappy revealed flyers can expect to find WiFi on only 38 percent of domestic flights.

  • Virgin America and AirTran Airways have WiFi on 100 percent of their flights.
  • Delta has the most total flights with WiFi (3,443), representing about 65 percent of all its flights.
  • Southwest (2,320) and US Airways (1,293) come in second and third, respectively.
  • United had only 24 domestic flights offering WiFi access.
  • If you are flying overseas, only 279, or 6.5 percent, of flights from the U.S. have full-flight connectivity.

The good news (or bad if you’re not into WiFi on planes), more airlines are planning to add inflight Internet service both domestically and on international flights. As for which airlines Gogo is on, it services nearly 2,000 commercial aircrafts for American Airlines, Air Canada, AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America.

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How to Know if Your Flight is WiFi Enabled Before Traveling

Travel booking websites including Hipmunk and Routehappy display information in your search results regarding which flights have inflight Internet. Although, like any technology it may be down OR your plane may be changed. In other words, it’s not guaranteed. Once your flight is booked, you can also check to see if your flight has WiFi via SeatGuru by cross referencing the information it lists on every airlines fleet of planes with the type of plane you are scheduled to fly on. Many airlines themselves will tell travelers if the flight offers inflight Internet, either during the booking process and/or on the printed boarding pass. Airlines also typically have the WiFi symbol posted when you’re boarding or on the plane itself, such as underneath the overhead baggage area.

Pricing for WiFi on Planes

Pricing for WiFi on planes varies depending on the airline and the inflight Internet service provider it’s working with. If you’re on one of the 2,000 flights that Gogo services, you can expect pricing to range from $14 for an all-day (24hour) pass to $49.95 for unlimited monthly Internet on all Gogo equipped flights. Check Gogo as pricing may change.

Have you used WiFi on planes? Gogo’s inflight Internet service? What did you think?

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