Gogo – InFlight Wi-Fi Usage Pricing & More

Airlines have invested heavily in inflight connectivity, partnering with providers like Gogo, Panasonic Avionics, and ViaSat to outfit their fleets with satellite and air-to-ground systems that can deliver Wi-Fi to the cabin.

Coverage was limited at first, but today Gogo reports that their Wi-Fi service is available on over 2500 commercial aircraft across 25 airlines worldwide. 

Delta Airlines expects to have their entire mainline fleet equipped with Wi-Fi by the end of 2023. And internationally, over 75 airlines now offer Wi-Fi on some portion of their fleet.

That means options for staying connected while flying are better than ever before.

How to Connect to Inflight Wi-Fi

The process of connecting to inflight Wi-Fi will vary slightly depending on the airline, but generally follows a simple series of steps:

  1. Turn on your device’s Wi-Fi setting and select the onboard Wi-Fi network from the list of available connections. The network name will usually contain the airline’s name (e.g. “Delta Wi-Fi”).
  2. Open your web browser on your device. This will automatically take you to the Wi-Fi portal page where you can purchase access.
  3. Choose from the available Wi-Fi pass options. 
  4. Enter your payment details and agree to the terms of service. Some airlines allow you to access Wi-Fi for free but require registration.
  5. After payment processes, you will be connected and ready to start browsing online. 

Wi-Fi Pricing and Plans

Inflight Wi-Fi is not free – access comes at a cost to passengers. Pricing varies by airline, but a standard package for one device runs around $8-10 for a 2-3 hour domestic flight. 

Cost goes up incrementally for longer flights and more data.

Packages 

Packages are offered on a per device basis, so each smartphone, tablet, or laptop will need its own Wi-Fi pass to connect. 

Frequent Flyers

For frequent flyers, Gogo and airline alliance programs offer subscription plans that provide discounted Wi-Fi access across partner airlines. T-Mobile was the first wireless carrier to offer free inflight Wi-Fi to mobile customers as an added perk.

Payment Methods

Paying for inflight Wi-Fi requires a credit or debit card – online payments are processed when you first connect and sign-up to access the network.

Some airlines also accept PayPal, frequent flyer miles, or carrier billing through your mobile provider.

Once purchased, your Wi-Fi pass is valid for the entire flight – there are no time limits. You can reconnect to the network if your device drops the connection mid-flight at no additional cost.

If using a free Wi-Fi pass from a wireless carrier or through elite status, there are typically no additional steps required beyond authenticating through the provider app or account.

What You Can Do with Inflight Wi-Fi

Once connected through the onboard Wi-Fi, what kind of online activity can you expect?

  • Browse the internet and access most websites
  • Use social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
  • Check email through Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail
  • Instant message via iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger
  • Stream music with Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora

Video streaming from Netflix, YouTube and other sites is restricted on most flights – although some airlines do offer it under premium Wi-Fi packages. 

Real-time video chat apps like FaceTime and Skype also may not work reliably due to limited bandwidth. For guaranteed entertainment, use the airline’s free inflight movies and TV.

Inflight Entertainment

Complimentary inflight entertainment is available on seat-back screens or your own device through airline apps. This lets you watch movies, TV shows, listen to music, play games – no Wi-Fi needed.

Major domestic airlines offer hundreds of movie and TV options that refresh monthly. Selections are downloaded wirelessly to the aircraft while on the ground..

Wi-Fi Service Providers and Aircraft Coverage

Wi-Fi providers to deliver service:

  • Gogo – Service on Delta, Alaska, Air Canada Panasonic – United, American, Turkish, Norwegian ViaSat – JetBlue, Virgin America, Southwest
  • Regional carrier fleets also offer Wi-Fi from Gogo and ViaSat. 

Check your airline’s website for up-to-date info on which aircraft in their fleet are equipped with Wi-Fi.

Supported Devices

Virtually any Wi-Fi enabled device can connect to inflight wireless networks. Here are some of the most common:

  • Laptops – Windows, MacBook
  • Tablets – iPad, Fire, Android
  • Smartphones – iPhone, Android phones
  • Ereaders – Kindle, Nook

Note that some older devices may only work on 2.4Ghz networks – satellite-based Wi-Fi operates on a different frequency. But most modern devices have dual-band Wi-Fi adapters that allow connections on both.

Customer Support

Having trouble getting connected? Flight attendants can assist with general questions about Wi-Fi access. But for issues with payment, network performance, or other technical matters, contact the airline’s dedicated inflight Wi-Fi customer support:

  • Gogo support for Gogo-equipped airlines
  • Panasonic support for United, American, etc
  • ViaSat support for JetBlue and other airlines

FAQs about Inflight Wi-Fi

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about staying connected at 35,000 feet:

Is Wi-Fi guaranteed to be available on my flight? 

Most airlines have Wi-Fi installed on a majority of their domestic fleet. But there are still some older aircraft awaiting upgrades. Check your airline’s Wi-Fi coverage map to confirm services for a given flight number and date. Outages are possible even on equipped aircraft.

Why is inflight Wi-Fi so expensive? 

Providing connectivity at 35,000 feet requires costly satellite infrastructure and complex networking technology. With expensive overhead, airlines price plans to offset those investments. But new satellite constellations promise better coverage and capacity at lower cost, which could lead to cheaper Wi-Fi pricing in the future.

Can I use Wi-Fi on international flights? 

Yes, Wi-Fi is available on some long-haul and transoceanic flights. But coverage is still limited globally – primarily found on North American and European carriers so far. Latin America, Asia, Middle East, and Africa lag behind in adoption. Speeds can suffer on oceanic routes as satellites hand-off connections between coverage zones.

Is Wi-Fi slower onboard than on the ground? 

Inflight Wi-Fi is generally slower than typical ground networks due to satellite latency and bandwidth constraints. Speeds in the air range from 5-20Mbps for most connections – fast enough for general browsing and email, but streaming quality suffers. New satellite technologies promise speeds up to 75Mbps soon that approach terrestrial networks.

Conclusion

This guide covers the key details travelers need to know about onboard Wi-Fi. Airlines continue investing to expand and improve inflight connectivity, so flyers can look forward to cheaper, faster, and more reliable access in the coming years as flying enters the true broadband age.

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