Pro Tip: Purchase In-Flight Wifi Before You Fly

Just a little reminder and tip.

I rarely pay for in-flight wifi. It’s kinda nice to be uncontactable for a little while. Most domestic flights are ~5 hours max anyhow, and usually shorter.

But I found myself needing to get some work done on a plane this week and made the decision to rely on American’s in-flight wifi from Gogo.

(Typing on a computer in a cramped economy seat is another issue altogether. And I highly recommend one of these for seatmates who can’t stop staring at your screen.)

Yes, I like saving big on in-flight wifi

Yes, I like saving big

The all-day pass I bought 5 minutes before boarding my American Airlines flight was $16. But on the plane, they wanted $24. So I saved a tidy $8, a  ~33% discount, just for paying in advance.

Note that prices can vary based on the flight. But in general, if you need or want it, it’s better to purchase an all-day pass ahead of time.

And WHERE you buy the pass makes a difference for American or Delta all-day passes. 

Why buy an in-flight wifi pass

Quite simply, you can’t go wrong.

I'd recommend the all-day pass, especially if you have connecting flights

I’d recommend the all-day pass, especially if you have connecting flights

You can get an all-day pass to use on ANY single airline with Gogo in-flight internet for $19.  That’s one of these guys:

Gogo's lineup

Gogo’s lineup

This is an better deal than what you’ll pay at 30,000 feet. Because you can use the internet for 24 continuous hours. Hopefully you won’t need all 24 hours!

How it works

When you purchase a pass, it’s added to your Gogo account. So you’ll need to make one or have one.

Then, when you connect in-flight and log into your account, there will be a pop-up that asks, “Do you want to use your pass?” So it’s stored in your account until you want to use it. And they’re good for a year after purchase.

You also don’t have to use it. For example, if by some miracle the in-flight option is cheaper. In that case, just click “No, I don’t want to use my pass,” and save it for a longer or more expensive (for wifi) flight at any point within the next year.

Do NOT do this for American or Delta

When you click American or Delta’s dedicated wifi links, you’ll see both airlines sell day passes for only $16, as opposed to Gogo’s $19.

It's cheaper to buy direct from American or Delta

It’s cheaper to buy direct from American or Delta

Why it’s like this, I don’t know. Because Air Canada, Alaska, United, and Virgin America leave all the wifi selling to Gogo. But with American and Delta, you can save a few extra bucks. You just have to click the right link.

The pass works the same way as what Gogo sells. Except you’re obviously only limited to American or Delta flights. But if you’re flying either airline, it’s a no-brainer to save even more.

Bottom line

I didn’t get a screenshot from the in-flight wifi this week, but American wanted $24 for in-flight wifi from Washington, DC, to Dallas. Ridiculous! (It’s a 2.5 hour flight.)

I wanted to get some work done and was able to squeeze in nearly 2 hours of pure, unadulterated typing bliss on my laptop (ahhhh typing).

Also, I’m happy to report, the wifi was very fast up there! Much faster than expected.

I wouldn’t get it in my head to actually rely on quick speeds, though. Part of me was always prepared for it to drop out at any second. But I’m happy with the product I got. And buying a day pass in advance is definitely the way to go.

The exception is American or Delta. Because they sell passes for $16, instead of Gogo’s $19.

This would be a big saver if you have connections and want to stay online for 2 or more flights. Or if you have a longer flight, like JFK-SFO or similar.

You can literally buy these 5 minutes before departure and save yourself a little cash.

Oh and for those who are curious… these links don’t work once you’re up in the air. I tried them – they redirect. Pretty clever, eh?

With a little planning, it’s extremely easy to get a nice discount (I saved 33%) on the ground. Cuz once you’re airborne, the price rises, too.

Do you use in-flight wifi? What’s your experience been (speed, reliability, pricing, etc.)?

Do you buy the passes in advance?

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

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  1. The $16 american wifi thing doesn’t seem to exist anymore. The special American page redirects to the normal $19 day pass. Your delta link doesn’t work at all.

    • Cool! Yeah, this post is from 2016 so good to know the AA pass is now a flat $19. The Delta pass still works and the link in the post worked fine! Just click the Wi-Fi button and it shows the page for a $16 pass – works fine!

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