BEST IN­FLIGHT WIFI IN THE US

Frequent Flyer Destinations - - VOYAGER - By Aram Ge­sar

Whether it’s for busi­ness or sim­ply be­cause of an un­healthy ob­ses­sion, many of us strug­gle go­ing more than a few min­utes with­out In­ter­net ac­cess. This can be par­tic­u­larly trou­ble­some when trav­el­ing. When we’re head­ing home for the hol­i­days, go­ing on a busi­ness trip, or tak­ing off on a sum­mer va­ca­tion, we need to know which air­lines do the most to keep us on­line while in the air.

Through painstak­ing re­search and ex­pert data anal­y­sis, HighSpeedIn­ter­net.com put to­gether a re­port of their ex­clu­sive rank­ings of the in-flight Wi-Fi of­fer­ings of do­mes­tic air­lines.

TOP DO­MES­TIC AIR­LINE WI-FI SER­VICES

JetBlue of­fers the best over­all in-flight Wi-Fi for per­sonal travel. The biggest rea­son JetBlue tops the rank­ings is be­cause when it’s avail­able, it comes at no ex­tra cost. JetBlue is the only air­line in Amer­ica that of­fers free in-flight Wi-Fi.

Along with be­ing the most af­ford­able, JetBlue’s in-flight Wi-Fi is also among the fastest; it’s tied with Delta and Vir­gin Amer­ica at 15 Mbps. South­west grabbed the sec­ond spot with a great bal­ance of af­ford­abil­ity and avail­abil­ity. It of­fers in­flight Wi-Fi on 90% of its ASM and charges

just $8 per day.

Vir­gin Amer­ica and Jet Blue lead the pack, of­fer­ing in-flight Wi-Fi on 100% of their ASM. The down­side to all that avail­abil­ity is that Vir­gin Amer­ica’s in-flight Wi-Fi is the most ex­pen­sive—it costs up to $25 per day. Jet Blue, how­ever, still man­ages to pro­vide its pas­sen­gers with free Wi-Fi.

Delta was a close sec­ond in avail­abil­ity, of­fer­ing in-flight Wi-Fi on 98% of its

ASM. The in­dus­try stan­dard for mea­sur­ing the to­tal ser­vice ca­pac­ity of an air­line is Avail­able Seat Miles (ASM). To cal­cu­late an air­line’s ASM, mul­ti­ply the to­tal num­ber of seats in its fleet of planes by the to­tal num­ber of miles the air­line flies in a year. Our avail­abil­ity statis­tic is the per­cent­age of an air­line’s ASM on which it of­fers Wi-Fi.

If you’re sim­ply look­ing for the fastest in-flight Wi-Fi, you have sev­eral op­tions. How­ever, while Delta, JetBlue, and Vir­gin Amer­ica all of­fer in-flight Wi-Fi up to 15 Mbps, they vary in price enor­mously.

Your first choice should be JetBlue be­cause its in-flight Wi-Fi is free.

If JetBlue doesn’t work for you, Delta should be your next choice. It charges up to $16 per day for in-flight Wi-Fi, which it of­fers on 98% of its ASM.

Fi­nally, if you can’t find a JetBlue or Delta flight that of­fers Wi-Fi and matches your travel time and des­ti­na­tion, your next choice should be Vir­gin Amer­ica. Get­ting Wi-Fi on Vir­gin Amer­ica will cost you up to $25, but you’re sure to get the top speed of­fered.

If you need Wi-Fi on your flight, avoid Fron­tier Air­lines, Hawai­ian Air­lines, and Spirit Air­lines. De­spite be­ing de­cently sized do­mes­tic air­lines, they don’t of­fer in-flight Wi-Fi ser­vices on any of their ASM.

Pur­chas­ing Wi-Fi di­rectly from Gogo may be your best op­tion. Gogo is an in­ter­net provider fo­cused on in-flight ser­vice. You can sub­scribe to in-flight in­ter­net ser­vice plans di­rectly from Gogo, and you can use that sub­scrip­tion to ac­cess the Wi-Fi on

Alaska Air­lines, Delta, United, or Vir­gin Amer­ica. (You can also use it on Air Canada flights, but we’re fo­cus­ing on US air­lines for this piece.)

Gogo of­fers an ar­ray of in-flight in­ter­net ser­vice plans that vary in du­ra­tion, cov­er­age area, and even the num­ber of de­vices you plan to con­nect. If you travel a lot—es­pe­cially through cities whose air­ports ser­vice a high vol­ume of flights from Gogo’s par­tic­i­pat­ing air­lines—Gogo plans may be more cost-ef­fec­tive than pur­chas­ing in-flight Wi-Fi ser­vice from the air­lines them­selves. This may also help you avoid the per-flight Wi-Fi fees charged by Vir­gin Amer­ica and United.

TOP DO­MES­TIC AIR­LINE WI-FI SER­VICES FOR BUSI­NESS TRAVEL

When trav­el­ing for busi­ness, out-of-pocket cost isn’t as high of a concern. If you’re an employee, your com­pany will likely be foot­ing the bill. And if you’re a busi­ness owner, pay­ing for re­li­able in-flight in­ter­net could keep your em­ploy­ees pro­duc­tive while trav­el­ing. Af­ter all, you gotta spend money to make money!

Vir­gin Amer­ica and Jet Blue rank num­ber one for in-flight Wi-Fi when trav­el­ing for busi­ness.

With the top speed and avail­abil­ity, Vir­gin Air­lines and Jet Blue are the best choices for busi­ness trav­el­ers who need in-flight Wi-Fi. You’re vir­tu­ally guar­an­teed to have Wi-Fi on any do­mes­tic flight, and the speeds are as good as you’ll find. With this great op­tion, your pro­duc­tiv­ity will be tak­ing off shortly af­ter your plane does.

If you don’t have Vir­gin Amer­ica or Jet Blue as an air­line op­tion, Delta is a great sec­ond choice. It of­fers in-flight Wi-Fi that’s just as fast as Vir­gin Amer­ica and Jet Blue’s and less ex­pen­sive than Vir­gin Amer­ica’s. The only rea­son it ranks be­hind Vir­gin Amer­ica is be­cause it’s not quite as avail­able across all of Delta’s ASM.

For this ar­ti­cle we used the avail­abil­ity statis­tics pub­lished in route­happy.com’s 2017 Wi-Fi Re­port and then tracked down the Wi-Fi speeds and prices of­fered by each air­line. (This sounds eas­ier than it was.)

Some air­lines don’t pub­lish their in-flight Wi-Fi in­for­ma­tion.

So, to get it, our team spent days con­tact­ing var­i­ous de­part­ments at some of th­ese air­lines—hound­ing them via email, phone, and so­cial me­dia. We’re not com­plain­ing—we’re happy to go the ex­tra mile to help con­sumers. But the fact that this in­for­ma­tion was so hard to find does raise some con­cerns about trans­parency. We think air­lines could go a long way to re­duce con­sumer frus­tra­tion by mak­ing this in­for­ma­tion more read­ily avail­able.

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