The Best Airlines for Wifi
Natalie Arney, 12.12.18
Alternative Travel Tips
Whether you want to complete a pressing item for work, complete an assignment to submit, or entertain yourself and your family while you travel, in-flight Wi-Fi offers the ability to do all of this and more! However, there are lots of different types, levels of coverage, and of course, there’s the pay vs free services.
We’ve done the research to give you a great overview of which airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi, how it works, and who has the best tech offering for your flight, so you don’t have to!
How Many Airlines Offer Inflight Wi-Fi?
82 airlines globally now offer in-flight Wi-Fi (as of December 2018), with more and more rolling out services as and when they invest in and install the necessary technology.
Airlines with 100% Wi-Fi Coverage on Long-Haul Flights
The following airlines claim to offer 100% Wi-Fi coverage on long-haul flights:
- Kuwait Airways
- United Airlines
- Icelandair (all of their flights, long and short-haul)
- Southwest (all of their flights, long and short-haul)
- Virgin Atlantic (all of their flights, long and short-haul)
- Air Europa
- EVA Air
Airlines Offering Complimentary (Free) Wi-Fi
- Qatar Airways
- JetBlue Airways (only for contiguous US)
- Turkish Airlines
- Air China
- China Eastern
- Nok Air
(there are time and data restrictions that may apply to those using Wi-Fi on the above airlines - it’s recommended that passengers make sure to check this before travel)
Airlines with the Best In-flight Wi-Fi Service
We won’t play favourites, as services are always changing, however, here are some of the most internet and tech-friendly airlines:
10 Most Tech-Friendly Airlines
Wi-Fi speed onboard Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777-300 aircraft is faster than most other international airlines, and they’re now fitting the Super Wi-Fi kit across Boeing 777 and Airbus 350 fleets. Passengers on these services will get their first hour of Wi-Fi for free, and then the option to purchase unlimited usage for the remaining duration of the flight for$10 USD.
Emirates give all passengers 20MB of free Wi-Fifor the first two hours of service on most Emirates flights. After that, passengers can purchase 150MB of data for $9.99 USD and 500MB of data for $15.99 USD. Skywards members will receive discounts on in-flight WIFI with Emirates.
Delta Air Lines has more than 1,100 Wi-Fi enabled aircraft, and Wi-Fi is offered on almost every flight. Alongside this, the company is investing in bringing in-home Wi-Fi speed to the air.
British Airways say that they expect to have 90% of their aircraft fitted with their onboard Wi-Fi service, .air, connected by 2019. Many feel as though this wait has been long, however, it has been important for the company to offer the best service, for as many passengers as possible.
JetBlue prides itself as being ‘the only airline with free high-speed Wi-Fi at every seat’. Their innovative partnership with Amazon for their ‘Fly-Fi’ product means that passengers can surf, shop and stream on flights.
Cathay Pacific offer Wi-Fi services on all of its A350 aircraft, and is working towards rolling out Wi-Fi services to their Boeing 777 fleet. They offer internet access packages, alongside SMS and data roaming services on those services offering Wi-Fi.
Alaska Airlines are rolling out high speed Wi-Fi across the fleet. They aim to have every aircraft in the fleet have the new Gogo powered high speed Wi-Fi installed by 2020. All other aircraft have Wi-Fi installed with coverage available while flying over continental US, Canada, and parts of Alaska.
Turkish Airlines offer a high-speed Wi-Fi connection on almost all of its aircraft, so that passengers can stay in touch, continue work, and stay entertained.
Etihad Airways offers Wi-Fi on selected aircraft, however, are in the process of launching a superfast internet service for all passengers to use.
Eva Air offers in-flight Wi-Fi for passengers in all classes on the following aircraft: Boeing 787, 777-300ER, and Airbus A330-300. A discount is available if vouchers are purchased ahead of travelling.
How to use Wi-Fi on a Plane
This will depend on the airline you’re travelling with, and the provider the airline uses for the service.
How does In-flight Wi-Fi Work?
There are 2 different ways that an internet signal can reach a wireless device at 35,000:
Ground Based Mobile Broadband Towers
The tower sends signals to an aircraft’s antennas, and as the plane travels into different sections of airspace it automatically connects to signals from the nearest tower. In theory, there’s no interruption to browsing, however, when a plane travels over a remote terrain or a large body of water, connectivity will be an issue.
Whilst in the air, planes connect to satellites in geostationary orbit and an antenna on top of the aircraft will connect to the closest satellite signal. Wi-Fi signal is distributed from an on board router and distributed to passengers who have devices connected to the said router.
Worried about taking your laptop on your flight? Find out everything you need to know with our guide to flying with a laptop.