I don’t think much about free inflight WiFi. I’m usually the flyer you see who works on the plane and then rushes into the lounge for WiFi so I can send off my work and then retrieve anything I might need to handle on my next flight. Of course, I grab some coffee and water from the lounge too, but I digress. Recently a friend sent me an email letting me know he’d have WiFi on his flight so he would work on our project in-flight. He was flying JetBlue and mentioned they had free inflight WiFi. Having not yet flown on JetBlue, this got me thinking. Had I flown on any airlines with free inflight WiFi and not noticed? Which airlines even had free WiFi, I had no idea. So I did some research, and here’s what I found out.
Airlines With Free WiFi
North American airlines
JetBlue Airways: Basic service is free, and premium service is $9 per hour.
Norwegian: Free service on flights within Europe and between the US and Caribbean (no service on transatlantic flights).
Finnair: Business Class passengers and Finnair Plus Gold members can enjoy complimentary internet access for one hour. For Finnair Plus Platinum members the service is complimentary for the whole flight.
Aer Lingus: WiFi is complimentary for Business Class passengers and in Spring 2019 all transatlantic flights will offer 20 MB of free Wi-Fi.
Middle Eastern airlines
Emirates: The airline offers 10MB of data free to all passengers, with an extra 500MB for a fee on Airbus A380 aircraft.
Qatar Airways: Free for the first 15 minutes, then $5 for one hour or $10 for three hours. On longer flights, passengers can access wifi for the duration of the trip for a flat fee of $20.
Turkish Airlines: WiFi is complimentary for Business Class passengers, and for Economy Class passengers who are members of its Elite or Elite Plus rewards program.
Philippine Airlines: The airline offers 30 minutes of free inflight WiFi across all cabin classes on selected planes.
Air China: The airline offers free download speeds of up to 30Mbps, but the service is only available on domestic flights and can only be used on a tablet or laptop, not on a smartphone.
China Eastern: The airline offers free WiFi but passengers are limited to 258 Yuan worth of use on both domestic and international flights.
Nok Air: This Thai airline offers free WiFi for the duration of their flights.
Honorable mention goes to Qantas for having some domestic flights offering free WiFi, and to Hainan Airlines for offering 130 MB of free WiFi on some of their flights, as well.
This list jogged my memory and I recall while flying in Business Class trying the WiFi on an Aer Lingus flight. I’ve also tried the WiFi on my Turkish flights, but the chef kept me busy with the meal service so I wasn’t really interested in the internet! I’ve flown on Qatar and Emirates, but didn’t test the WiFi on those flights.
As you can see from this list, airlines all handle their offerings quite differently. Some airlines offer free WiFi for a limited amount of time or data usage; others offer it to their frequent flyers while charging everyone else. And not all aircraft, even when an airline does offer free WiFi, are well equipped. Seems like WiFi in the sky is still a frustrating experience that varies a lot. If you want more in-depth information on these airlines and what they offer, you can read more here. Did I miss any airlines offering internet? What’s your experience been like with internet on different airlines?