Airplanes are an incredible modern convenience that everyone needs to take more advantage of. Shuttle planes can get you from one major city to another in just an hour or two. Or, you could be on the other side of the planet in less than a day.
But for those long hauls, it can get a little grueling without WiFi aboard.
There’s nothing worse than bringing along your trusty tablet or laptop to waste the time away...to only realize your flight is sans-WiFi. Sadly, as of 2012, only 31% of domestic flights in the US had in-flight internet.
Worry no more! These flight carriers will be your new best travel companion:
AirTran: This budget airline goes throughout the US, Mexico, and the Caribbean, and has outfitted all planes with GoGo Internet.
Delta: This major carrier has almost completely renovated it’s domestic planes with GoGo service. However, despite claims that international flights will soon follow this trend, there is no definite date of when this will happen.
Virgin America: In 2009, their fleet became the first to offer in-flight internet access through GoGo. It’s accessible all over the US, and 100 miles into Mexico. They also provide power outlets!
United: In 2013, United added WiFi to about 25 of it’s planes every single month. They’re also updating their intercontinental systems. The plan was to have at least 50 planes with satellite WiFi by the end of last year. Check their website to find out if your plane will have it.
Gulf Air: As of now, 50% of all flights will have WiFi. For 30 USD you can have unlimited access for up to 24 hours.
Norwegian: Offering internet on all flights throughout Europe, they were the first to offer broadband on some flights. By spring of 2013, their entire 737-800 fleet was made WiFi ready. When booking flights, they actually put a WiFi symbol next to those with it on board.
Lufthansa: Ahead of the curve, this airline is the first to offer onboard broadband Internet access. Almost every plane in it’s fleet in equipped with their Lufthansa FlyNet, and guaranteed at least 12 international flights a day will have it. Internationally, they’re your best best for some time online. A 24 hour pass will run you €19.95, a good price for excellent service.
Japan Airlines: Announced in October of 2012, JA will be installing GoGo to all of its domestic 777 fleet. Keep your fingers crossed that if all goes well, this will quickly expand to their long haul international fleet!
Another unfortunate thing to mention - most in-flight internet is not free. If you see mention of GoGo, it is a paid service. For long flights, it ends up costing about $1-$3 an hour, so it’s not offensively expensive (you should check your airline’s website for pricing specifics). Keep an eye out for flight packages that include WiFi service.
It’d be easy to assume that technologies would go hand in hand together. Unfortunately, that has not been the relationship between internet and airlines. United and American are pretty behind, each with only about 500 WiFi ready flights a day, they’re slowly adding internet to their fleets.
JetBlue is getting left in the past, with zero flights with internet capabilities (though they ran ‘tests’ in the summer of 2013). But one thing is for sure: the demand is there, and more and more airlines are catching on. Just to be sure, always check your carriers website, or give them a call before you fly.
Next time you're up and with WiFi, head to Trekeffect and plan your trip!