Do you have a flight coming up and wonder, “does United have free WiFi?”
This is a good question and likely something you want to know before departing on a trip.
Planning for additional costs is always important when traveling, and if WiFi isn’t free, it will be an additional cost.
United Airlines offers free WiFi for T-Mobile users (with some exceptions) and provides other WiFi perks. You can access free use of certain messaging apps on board or use a savings method, such as credit card parks, to reduce the cost of WiFi or make it free.
Do you want to learn more about accessing free WiFi while on a United Airlines flight?
If so, you are in the right place. This guide can tell you everything you want to know.
How T-Mobile Users Can Access Free WiFi on United Flights
In September 2022, United Airlines announced its partnership with T-Mobile to provide T-Mobile customers with free, in-flight WiFi.
This WiFi service allows T-Mobile customers to text, stream, email, and browse for free. They can also make voice and video calls on board.
There are specifications regarding what flights this feature is available for. Currently, the following specifications apply:
- Available for short-haul international and domestic United flights (737s and some 757-300s and A319s)
- Part of the “Coverage Beyond” program offered by T-Mobile
- You can only use the WiFi on your mobile device (no laptops)
- T-Mobile users can only access free WiFi if they are on a flight that offers internet from Gogo
There are two plans that T-Mobile offers users that provide free WiFi benefits for United Airlines passengers.
If you choose a plan from T-Mobile other than these two, you won’t be able to take advantage of this perk.
Magenta MAX Plans
With this package, you receive unlimited full-flight WiFi and streaming. You also receive free unlimited texting.
If you choose this plan, you can choose four full flights per year to receive free WiFi and streaming.
It also offers one hour of in-flight WiFi and streaming on other flights. Just like the other plan, unlimited free texting is included.
Note: Free WiFi services to T-Mobile customers is only available on specific international and domestic flights.
Does United Have Free WiFi Other Than for T-Mobile Customers?
Currently, United Airlines provides all passengers with access to free messaging.
This is available for those who use WhatsApp and iMessage. No other message services are supported at this time.
However, free messaging services (just like free WiFi services) are only available on certain flights and with certain internet providers.
Note: If you want to know, “does United Airlines have free WiFi for my flight,” you should contact the customer service team to find out.
How Do I Get WiFi if I’m Not a T-Mobile User?
Besides WiFi provided by T-Mobile, United Airlines offers WiFi from four providers.
If you plan to use these internet service providers in-flight, you must pay for them (in most cases).
Gogo is the provider that offers most of the internet services for the company’s Express fleet.
It also provides connectivity for Boeing 757-200s, typically used for transcontinental flights.
Gogo coverage is limited to the continental U.S. and parts of Canada and Alaska.
If you go beyond these areas, the service will no longer work, and you will use connectivity.
Panasonic WiFi is used for most long-haul flights. This is the only provider used by United that is considered a “global coverage network.”
United has provided Panasonic WiFi to its wide-body aircraft and some single-aisle planes, including Airbus A320, A319, and 757.
This is a satellite-based internet and is available over the continental U.S. Thales is offered on several Boeing 737s and some 757-300s.
If WiFi is a critical component for your time on the plane, you may want to avoid Thales, which can be done by choosing a different type of plane than the ones mentioned here.
Thales is not as reliable or consistent as the other providers, which is why it’s not a preferred option for most travelers.
This service provider offers WiFi across almost all of North America, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Europe.
It also provides some of the fastest internet speeds available on a plane.
While this is true, it’s offered on the smallest number of United planes. Only select Airbus A319s, 757s, and the 737 MAX 9 (this plane is still grounded).
Important Note: If you want to know what provider will provide internet on your flight, you can use the flight status page up to 48 hours before your flight is scheduled to depart.
How Can You Access the Internet on a United Flight?
Now that you know the answer to “does United have inflight WiFi,” it’s important to know how to access it.
The process is actually simple.
Once your flight reaches 10,000 feet, you can connect. Just turn on the WiFi for your selected mobile device and choose the “United WiFi” network.
After you connect, you can pull up your browser and visit UnitedWifi.com, which is the landing page for the internet service.
On the landing page, you will be presented with options to access connectivity. If you are a T-Mobile user, you can skip this step since access is free (on some flights with Gogo internet connectivity).
However, if you cannot get internet for free, you will have to choose between a WiFi day pass or a WiFi subscription.
Usually, the subscription will only be a good option if you travel often.
Note: You must be a MileagePlus member to access the day pass or a subscription option for WiFi on your flight.
How Can You Save Money on United Airlines WiFi Access?
Purchasing a yearly or monthly subscription is a smart way to save money on WiFi if you travel often (more than six times per year).
However, there are a few other ways you may be able to save money, too.
Use a Credit Card with Free Gogo Passes
If you apply and are approved for a U.S. Bank Altitude Reserve Visa Infinite Card, you receive 12 free Gogo WiFi passes yearly.
You can use the passes on international and domestic flights.
Note: These passes will only work on United flights that offer Gogo internet, not any others.
Use Your United Credit Card
If you have a United credit card, you can use it to purchase WiFi when you are onboard. You will receive a statement credit if you do this.
You get the credit because all United cards offer a refund perk for any inflight purchases.
Use Your Eligible American Express Credit Card
If you are on a United flight with the WiFi portal, you can use your eligible American Express card to access it for free.
Several American Express cards offer cardholders airline incidental credits.
If you choose United as your chosen airline for the year, these credits can cover the cost of WiFi.
Redeem Your United Miles for WiFi
If you are on a flight that offers United’s WiFi portal, you can redeem your Mileage Plus miles for WiFi access.
While this is possible, it’s probably not the best use of your miles.
Read Next: Does Royal Caribbean Have Free WiFi?
Getting WiFi While on a United Airlines Flight
If you have an upcoming flight with United Airlines, you may wonder, “does United have free WiFi?” The answer is yes and no.
For T-Mobile users, free WiFi access is offered on flights powered by Gogo internet.
For others, some methods to get reduced cost or free WiFi access is worth looking into.
If you aren’t sure if your flight will have free WiFi access or what internet provider will be used, contact the United Airlines customer support line for assistance.
Kevin has over five years of experience working in various Tech startups and providing Technical solutions. He has contributed to many Tech publications and websites.