Almost everywhere you go, there’s free Wi-Fi, but not always in the sky.
More often than not, it seems, the ability to get online while on board is one of the many things that airlines charge extra for. But it’s possible to get free in-flight Wi-Fi if you know a few tricks.
Whether you need to stay connected for work or want to keep in touch with friends as you fly, here are some ways you may be able to get online for free the next time you’re on a plane.
Find an airline with free Wi-Fi
The only major U.S. carrier to currently offer free Wi-Fi to all customers is JetBlue. All of their airplanes offer free high-speed internet access called “Fly-Fi,” keeping their passengers online in areas with Fly-Fi coverage, which includes all JetBlue-operated flights over the contiguous U.S. and sometimes beyond.
Some foreign carriers also offer free Wi-Fi, such as those we cite in “4 Airlines That Offer Free Wi-Fi — or Soon Will.”
Pick the right credit card
Some credit cards offer free Wi-Fi as a perk of their programs. For example, American Express offers Business Platinum cardholders 10 free Gogo in-flight internet passes per year. Some foreign carriers, such as Turkish Airlines, also offer their cardholders as much as unlimited internet access.
Some airline-branded credit cards, like those of Alaska Airlines, offer discounts or rebates for in-flight purchases like Wi-Fi. Although discounted Wi-Fi isn’t free Wi-Fi, even a 20% break can save you a pretty penny on your next flight, given the cost of in-flight internet access these days.
Check with your cell plan benefits
Check out the benefits available with your wireless carrier, as some plans might include free Wi-Fi when flying.
For example, some T-Mobile and Sprint plans offer free in-flight connectivity and even streaming where available, a perk the carrier calls “T-Mobile In-Flight Connection On Us.” Currently, it’s available on Alaska Airlines and certain American, Delta and United flights.
Join a frequent flyer program
On some airlines, frequent flyers get free Wi-Fi as a perk, especially if they hold an elite flyer program status.
Delta Air Lines recently announced that it’s rolling out free in-flight connection services for SkyMiles members. By the end of 2023, it will be available on all domestic flights.
Some foreign carriers like Singapore Airlines offer free internet service to their members, too.
Upgrade to a premium seat
Considering a premium or business class seat? Some airline seats offer not only extra leg room but other benefits like free Wi-Fi. Turkish Airlines, for example, provides free Wi-Fi to its business class passengers. Consider what benefits are part of the next ticket you purchase.