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How to Get Free Wi-Fi in the Air

The content is accurate at the time of publication and is subject to change.

This content is not provided by Citi. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the Citi.

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 the Wi-Fi internet for free, 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.

JetBlue

JetBlue is the only airline that offers free Wi-Fi at every seat and on every plane. The airline partners with Viasat to provide Internet service. All JetBlue-operated flights have coverage over the contiguous U.S. and the airline promises download speeds of up to 20 Mbps.

Southwest

Southwest Rapid Rewards members who reached the A-List Preferred status can use free inflight Wi-Fi during the whole flight. A-List members, other members of Southwest's Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program, and non-members will have to pay $8 for inflight Wi-Fi all day.

Icelandair

Icelandair made Wi-Fi available to everyone on board of its airplanes. However, Wi-Fi access is not free for everyone. Thus, passengers flying Saga Premium and Saga Premium Flex receive complimentary Wi-Fi access for 2 devices. Icelandair Saga Gold frequent flyer members also get complimentary wireless internet for two devices.

Aer Lingus

All Aer Lingus' A330 aircrafts have Wi-Fi onboard. And all Aer Lingus flyers can get internet access starting at $7.95. Only Business Class passengers can get Aer Lingus Wi-Fi for free.

Turkish Airlines

Wi-Fi connection on Turkish Airlines flights is available on select international flights only. Business Class passengers and Miles&Smiles card holders can get the benefit of free Wi-Fi quotas. When the complimentary quota is consumed, passengers in Economy Class will have to buy internet packages to continue using the service.

Emirates

Emirates provides various onboard Wi-Fi plans for all passengers starting at $2.99. However, if you are an Emirates Skywards member, you can take advantage of free Wi-Fi services. Emirates Skywards members traveling in First Class or as a Platinum member in any travel class can enjoy free Wi-Fi internet for the whole flight.

Philippines Airlines

Philippines Airlines offers myPAL Wi-Fi Hi-Speed internet on select international flights. All passengers have access to complimentary chat plan of 3MB. Business Class passengers are provided with a promo code to enjoy additional 100MB of data for free. Additional Wi-Fi plans start at $3.

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 savings

Some credit cards offer credits, discounts or savings on in-flight Wi-Fi. A credit card that provides you with a 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. For example, one of the credit cards that will allow you to save on in-flight Wi-Fi is the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard® credit card. This card will give you 25% savings on American Airlines in-flight Wi-Fi purchases without limitations or caps. The benefit is available on American Airlines-operated flights only. When you use this benefit, savings will appear as a statement credit in two or three weeks after the transaction.

Apply for CitiBusiness<sup>®</sup> / AAdvantage<sup>®</sup> Platinum Select<sup>®</sup> Mastercard<sup>®</sup> - Credit-Land.com

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  • Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.
  • First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries to reduce travel costs and boost your bottom line.
  • 25% savings on American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi when you use your card
  • Enjoy preferred boarding on American Airlines flights
  • Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, and on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations
  • Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases
  • Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases
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65,000 AAdvantage® miles

Earn 65,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first 4 months of account opening.

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First checked bag is free on domestic American Airlines itineraries to reduce travel costs and boost your bottom line.µ

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Earn 2 AAdvantage® miles per $1 spent on eligible American Airlines purchases, and on purchases at telecommunications merchants, cable and satellite providers, car rental merchants and at gas stations

Earn 1 AAdvantage® mile per $1 spent on other purchases

Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases

Redemption Options

Use your miles for award travel on American Airlines. Plus, redeem miles for Business and First Class upgrades, car rentals, hotel stays or vacation packagesµ

Miles will not expire if you earn or redeem miles once every 24 monthsµ

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 well as Wi-Fi service providers. Here are some airlines, their prices and internet providers:

  • Alaska Airlines uses Gogo internet services and All Day Pass will cost you $19, 1-Hour Pass costs $7.
  • American Airlines charges $10 when you pay as you fly. If you fly often, you can join the American Airlines Wi-Fi Subscription Plan for $49.95 for a monthly plan (one device). Internet providers are Gogo 2Ku, Viasat and Panasonic.
  • Delta uses Viasat to provide the newest Wi-Fi technology and offers a variety of Wi-Fi passes and subscriptions. Monthly Domestic Plan will cost $49.95 and Monthly Global Plan will be $69.95.
  • Lufthansa's internet provider is Deutsche Telekom, which services cost $8 for FlyNet® Chat, $20 for FlyNet® Mail and Surf, and $34 for FlyNet® Mail and Surf Plus on long-haul flights.

The final word

Sometimes you won't even be able to buy in-flight Wi-Fi simply because the service is not available. Yes, such airlines exist. For example, Frontier airlines do not offer in-flight Wi-Fi to their passengers. Some other airlines offer this service only on select 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.

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