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Travel | Traveling
Wi-Fi Changes Are Coming To A Plane Near You


Staying connected is important to business and leisure travelers alike. Whether booking a last-minute hotel room, prepping for an upcoming meeting, or researching activities for a vacation, air travelers expect to have Wi-Fi access on the plane.

Wi-Fi on aircraft has improved over time, in terms of reliability, speed, and availability. Now, for some flyers, free access to Wi-Fi is also getting a boost.

Seats on a Delta plane

Delta Air Lines has recently announced the roll out of free Wi-Fi for everyone. In partnership with T-Mobile, this service is accessible to everyone on most domestic, mainline aircraft and is expected to be offered on all international and regional domestic aircraft by December 2024.

Delta isn't just trying to make Wi-Fi free, it's also aiming to improve the capabilities. According to Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian, "The goal was to not just offer base-level service but service that allows customers to enjoy their favorite content just as they would at home."

To see if the next Delta flight you're booking offers streaming-quality connectivity, look for the fast-streaming Wi-Fi indicator within the flight details.

Woman working on a laptop

While not free, Wi-Fi on American Airlines can be purchased on almost all routes for as little as $10. However, the cost is based on flight distance and time spent online, so the prices will vary. If you are a frequent flyer, you can buy a subscription for unlimited access. Plans start at just $49 a month and offer Wi-Fi within North America.

To verify if Wi-Fi will be available during your next trip, check your flight status online and look for the Wi-Fi logo near the flight number.

Digital displays on Jet Blue airplane seats

The Wi-Fi experience on United Airlines is very similar to that of American, with one added bonus: free messaging.

While you will have to pay for full Wi-Fi access on United, you won't need to pay if you only want to send messages via services like iMessage or WhatsApp.

On flights within the U.S. and flights to Mexico or Canada, MileagePlus members pay just $8 for full Internet access and non-members pay $10. Subscriptions for Wi-Fi access on both domestic and international flights are also available starting at $49 a month or $539 for the year.

T-Mobile customers have unlimited Wi-Fi, texting, and streaming on domestic and international flights on United.

Spirit Airlines plane

Passengers on Spirit Airlines are finally able to access Wi-Fi. Installation was just completed on most planes in July 2022. The cost of Wi-Fi on Spirit is based on flight distance and the type of activity you plan to do online.

Like United Airlines, Southwest offers free use of iMessage and WhatsApp. Full Internet costs $8, unless you're an A-List Preferred Member, in which case it's free. However, to keep speeds fast, you may find certain high-bandwidth applications, websites, and video conferencing services blocked.

Wi-Fi, dubbed Fly-Fi on JetBlue, is free. The carrier has expanded service to provide access on flights over much of the Caribbean and Central America, as well as on new flights to London.

There is no Wi-Fi option on board Frontier Airlines or Hawaiian Airlines.