How to Get Free Wi-Fi in the Air

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Credit Card Applications » Research » Guides » Travel with Credit Cards » How to Get Free Wi-Fi in the Air

How to Get Free Wi-Fi in the Air


Updated: November 10, 2020

The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.
Sometimes in-flight Wi-Fi is the bare necessity when you travel abroad or within the country. However not all airlines offer free in-flight Wi-Fi. There is only a couple of airlines that will allow you to use Wi-Fi internet for free, while the others will ask you to pay for the service. So what can you do when you need to stay connected while onboard?

Option A: Fly exclusively with airlines that offer free in-flight Wi-Fi

These airlines below give free Wi-Fi access to surf the web, get some work done, or simply catch up with your friends while you are onboard. However, free onboard internet is not available to everyone. In most cases you have to be a member of the airline’s frequent flyer program or be a business class passenger to enjoy free inflight Wi-Fi.
Southwest Airlines
Southwest Rapid Rewards members who reached the A-List Preferred status can use free inflight Wi-Fi during the whole flight. A-List members and those who are not members of the Southwest’s Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program, will pay $8 for inflight Wi-Fi.
Icelandair
Icelandair made Wi-Fi available to everyone on board of its airplanes. However, the Wi-Fi access is not free for everyone. Only Saga Class passengers and Saga Gold frequent flyer members get complementary wireless internet for two devices.
Aer Lingus
All Aer Lingus’ A330 aircrafts have Wi-Fi on board. And all Aer Lingus flyers can get internet access: one hour will cost $9.95, and full flight access will cost $18.95. Only Business Class passengers can get Aer Lingus Wi-Fi for free.
Turkish Airlines
Wi-Fi connection on Turkish Airlines flights is available on their Boeing 777-300 ER type aircraft only. Any passenger can use Wi-Fi connection and the service will cost $9.99 per hour, or $14.99 for a 24-hour package. Only Business Class passengers are offered free Wi-Fi internet service.
As you can see, sometimes even being a member of a frequent flyer program doesn’t give you access to free in-flight Wi-Fi. Most often, you should be a business class traveler or buy the service onboard.

Option B: Get a credit card with in-flight Wi-Fi credit

Some credit cards offer credits, discounts or savings on in-flight Wi-Fi. A credit card that provides you with credit or discount to purchase wireless internet access on an aircraft will allow you to stay connected every time you fly on an aircraft with Wi-Fi services.

Option C: Pay for in-flight Wi-Fi

You can simply pay for Wi-Fi while on board. This option is good when you do not fly often and never fly business class. The option is not the cheapest one, so it will be worth researching. On-board Wi-Fi prices vary as vary the Wi-Fi service providers. Here are some airlines, their prices and internet providers:
Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines uses Gogo internet services and All-Day Pass will cost you $19, 1-Hour Pass costs $7.
American Airlines
American Airlines charges $10 for a single-use Wi-Fi pass provided by the same internet provider – Gogo.
Virgin America
Virgin America uses services of two Wi-Fi providers – ViaSat and Gogo – and using either provider will cost you from $4.99 to $17.99 when fly in main cabin.
Lufthansa
Lufthansa’s FlyNet® offers several options for on-board Internet. Tariffs for long-haul flights are as follows: $8 for FlyNet® Chat, $20 for FlyNet® Mail and Surf, and $34 for FlyNet® Mail and Surf Plus.

The final word

However, sometimes you won’t even need to pay for in-flight Wi-Fi simply because the service is not available. Yes, such airlines exist. For example, Frontier, Hawaiian and Spirit airlines do not offer in-flight Wi-Fi to their passengers. Some other airlines offer this service only on selected aircrafts. So it is worth checking Wi-Fi availability beforehand to make sure you will stay connected during your flight. And if you want to save on Wi-Fi, go back to Option B to see your options.  

Disclaimer: This editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer(s). Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the credit card issuer(s), and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer(s). Reasonable efforts are made to present accurate information, however all information is presented without warranty. Consult a card's issuing bank for the terms & conditions.
All rates and fees, and other terms and conditions of the products mentioned in this article/post are actual as of the last update date but are subject to change. See the current products' Terms & Conditions on the issuing banks' websites.
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  • Anthony Ruff

    Nice article. One thing of note, discover is not widely accepted abroad…

  • Martin Wilson

    Miles by Discover is fantastic. Ive been using it for three years now and it obviously earns nice miles. I have to travel a lot, every six months, and once a year abroad, so it adds up miles quickly. I like that I can use miles on a date and never had problems. The only problem I had is when I was notified about a charge I didn’t make. I called Discover and told them that I didn’t make it and they instantly rejected it, canceled my card and sent me a new one. Truly wonderfull customer service.

  • Jessy Cleveland

    Got tickets for vacation on a flights opereted by the same airline. On my way there we had onboard wi-fi, but on the way back we did not. :/ It’s great to have the bank to pay for your wi-fi fees but sometimes you just cannot use this.. that makes me angry

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