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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   2 min read

Many airlines are finally getting onboard with the whole wifi on a plane thing, but not everyone has it just yet. Even those airline companies that do, don’t have all their planes outfitted just yet. If you like to keep in touch while in the skies, get a little work done or just surf the web, then heads up! These airlines have your back.

While quite a few airlines are now offering wifi onboard, you can bet (99% of the time) that it won’t be free. So many travellers want it, but so few airlines have got it… in-flight wifi is one premium service! European airlines seem to be lagging in this area but you can still get it with major players.

In the USA it looks promising and in the next 2-5 years most major airline companies should be outfitted to offer the service. AirTran and Virgin America are the only two airlines that have their whole fleet equipped to offer wifi while Delta and American Airlines only have a portion of their fleet outfitted. Alaskan Airways, Southwest, Continental and JetBlue are testing it out, but it’s not officially available yet.

JetBlue has what the techie people call narrowband, which means that you can check as much as your emails and send a few instant messages. Not much more than that. Flash site? Forget it.

Let’s get down to the basics: who has it, how much does it cost and on which types of aircraft?

Who has it? Who doesn’t?

Airline Details/Availability Price
British Airways Club World London City Airbus A318, on flights to New York JFK from London City International roaming fees apply, billed to you through your phone service provider; laptops need their own GPRS card to use the internet
Air France Testing was made on one Airbus A318 in 2008, currently no in-flight internet services are available n/a
Lufthansa Available on domestic routes and “most” long-haul aircraft, 100% coverage expected by the end of 2011 €10.95/hour or €19.95 for 24 hours, unlimited
Ryanair Discontinued service in March 2010 on Boeing 737 n/a
British Midlands Airways Currently testing on Airbus A320 n/a
United Airlines All 51 Airbus A321 as of June 2010 1.5 hours for US$4.95 (laptop/mobile), 1.5-3 hours for US$9.95 (laptop) or US$7.95 (mobile), 3+ hours for US$12.95 (laptop) or US$7.95 (mobile)
Virgin America Available on 100% of fleet 1.5 hours for US$4.95 (laptop/mobile), 1.5-3 hours for US$9.95 (laptop) or US$7.95 (mobile), 3+ hours for US$12.95 (laptop) or US$7.95 (mobile)
Delta Air Lines About 25% of their fleet has in-flight wifi 1.5 hours for US$4.95 (laptop/mobile), 1.5-3 hours for US$9.95 (laptop) or US$7.95 (mobile), 3+ hours for US$12.95 (laptop) or US$7.95 (mobile)
Continental Airlines Available as of summer 2010 1.5 hours for US$4.95 (laptop/mobile), 1.5-3 hours for US$9.95 (laptop) or US$7.95 (mobile), 3+ hours for US$12.95 (laptop) or US$7.95 (mobile)
US Airways Available on 51 Airbus A321, as of June 2010 1.5 hours for US$4.95 (laptop/mobile), 1.5-3 hours for US$9.95 (laptop) or US$7.95 (mobile), 3+ hours for US$12.95 (laptop) or US$7.95 (mobile)
Air Asia On select Airbus A320, promising wifi on its entire fleet by 2013 n/a
Qatar Airways On select Airbus A320, mobile internet only on smart phones for sending text messages, browse the internet and check e-mail International call roaming rates apply
Air Canada Available on select flights between Toronto, Montreal and Los Angeles 1.5 hours for CA$4.95 (laptop/mobile), 1.5-3 hours for CA$9.95 (laptop) or CA$7.95 (mobile), 3+ hours for CA$12.95 (laptop) or CA$7.95 (mobile)

 

Looking for free wifi in Europe, check out the nearest hotspot near you!

Would you pay to access wifi on your next flight?


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5 responses to “Wifi on a plane: who’s got it?

  1. Emirates have wifi on Airbus A380 flights, Heathrow to Dubai. I have used it a couple of times. It is a factor for me when deciding who to fly with on that route

  2. Norwegian have it on all their flights. As yet it’s free of charge, it may change, but still, they’ve got it.

  3. THANK YOU A LOT !!!!! I WILL BE FLYING ON QUATAR AIRWAYS THIS JUNE AND I WAS WONDERING IF IT COMES WITH WIRELESS INTERNET CONNECTION !! I COUD’NT FIND THE ANSSWER ANYWHERE UNTIL HIS HEPPEND THANK YOU A LOT !!!

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