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The Complete Guide to United’s Inflight Wi-Fi Service [2023]

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Spencer Howard
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Spencer Howard

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U.S. carriers began rolling out inflight internet services over a decade ago and have been slowly improving the experience. Nowadays, it is almost expected that all airlines have Wi-Fi on their flights.

United Airlines does not use a consistent Wi-Fi provider, as do many other airlines. Instead, the Wi-Fi provider United uses depends on the type of aircraft.

Following are the details of United’s Wi-Fi, including its providers, what kind of Wi-Fi service you can expect, and how much you may (or may not!) have to pay for it.

Which United Aircraft Have Wi-Fi, and Who Provides It?

United has fitted almost all of its aircraft with Wi-Fi capability and has 4 Wi-Fi providers across its fleet:

SCROLL FOR MORE
Wi-Fi ProviderSelect Aircraft
Gogo
  • Embraer 170
  • Embraer 175
  • Bombardier CRJ-700/550
Panasonic
  • Select Airbus 319
  • Airbus 320
  • Select Boeing 757-200/300
  • 767-300ER/400ER
  • 777-200/200ER/300ER
  • 787-8/9/10
Thales
  • 737-700/800/900
  • 737-900ER
  • Select 757-300s
Viasat
  • Select Airbus 319s
  • A321neo
  • Select Boeing 737-900s
  • 737 MAX 8/9

United Wi-Fi Coverage Maps

United Airlines Wi-Fi Coverage
United Airlines Wi-Fi Coverage. Image Credit: United

Note that coverage is limited when traveling over polar regions, some countries with regulations restricting inflight Wi-Fi access, and other government-restricted areas.

Is United’s Wi-Fi Reliable?

Reliability has long been an issue for inflight internet services, but things are certainly better than they were a few years ago. While providers have been working with airlines to improve speed and reliability, you shouldn’t be surprised if you find slower speeds (if not failing Wi-Fi) on some of your flights.

If you have important work that can only be done via Wi-Fi, we don’t recommend planning your day around doing it in the air.

Can You Stream Video?

Not on all flights. United is still rolling out the ability to use streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu, across its network.

How Much Is Wi-Fi on United?

United Airlines Wi-Fi Fees

Pricing for United’s Wi-Fi varies. On U.S. domestic and short-haul international flights, such as those from the U.S. to Mexico and Canada, Wi-Fi is $8 or 800 miles for MileagePlus members and $10 for everyone else. 

For all other flights, prices depend on where you’re headed and how long your flight is.

Even if you don’t pay for Wi-Fi, you can still activate free messaging and access united.com and the United app. This includes United’s entertainment options.

In addition, thanks to United’s partnership with T-Mobile, T-Mobile customers get free Wi-Fi. This includes unlimited Wi-Fi, texting, and streaming on domestic and international United flights.

United Wi-Fi Day Pass

United allows MileagePlus members to purchase a Wi-Fi Day Pass for their entire trip. You add the Wi-Fi Pass either during booking or by adding it to an existing trip in trip details.

Your Wi-Fi Day Pass begins working one hour before your first flight of the day is scheduled to leave and expires 24 hours later. It costs the same amount it would to buy Wi-Fi for each flight during the 24-hour period.

United MileagePlus cardholders get 25% back on all United Wi-Fi subscription purchases, including Wi-Fi Day Pass.

United Wi-Fi Subscriptions

With United Wi-Fi subscriptions, you can pay for a month or year of Wi-Fi usage in advance through your MileagePlus account. Prices start at $49 or 7,500 miles a month.

When picking subscription options, you must first select the region where you’ll be traveling over the course of your subscription. The regions are:

  • North America and Central America
  • Global

You then pick the duration for how long you want your subscription to last:

  • Monthly
  • Annual

If you fly with United often, an annual subscription can save up to $139 a year. The most expensive option would be an annual global subscription, which costs $689 or 100,000 miles.

Bottom Line:

If you are a frequent United flyer, picking up a Wi-Fi subscription may be worthwhile.

Best Ways To Save on United’s Wi-Fi

Purchase a Pass

Buying a monthly or yearly subscription pass can be a good way to save on Wi-Fi if you’re a frequent traveler.

For example, a monthly pass can present decent savings if you fly 6 or more times per month and spend $8 to $10 per flight. The savings are more significant the more frequently you fly.

Have a Credit Card With Free Gogo Passes

One option for frequent travelers to save on Wi-Fi is with the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card, which comes with 12 free Gogo Wi-Fi passes per year. The passes are valid on domestic and international flights per segment. But this will only benefit you if your United flight offers service with Gogo, not any of the other 3 internet providers.

Use a United Co-Branded Credit Card

United credit cardholders can use their card to purchase Wi-Fi on board and get a 25% statement credit. This includes annual and monthly subscriptions as well as day pass purchases.

Use an Eligible American Express Credit Card

If your United flight offers Wi-Fi through United’s Wi-Fi portal, you could use an eligible American Express card to get United Wi-Fi for free.

American Express cards like The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express offer airline incidental credits. And if you select United as your airline of choice for the year, the credits can offset the cost of Wi-Fi.

Redeem United Miles for Wi-Fi

Flights equipped with United’s new Wi-Fi portal allow you to redeem MileagePlus miles to purchase Wi-Fi access. However, this is a poor value for your hard-earned United miles!

We value United miles at a minimum of 1.3 cents per mile. You won’t even get 1 cent per mile when you redeem miles for Wi-Fi. You’d definitely be better off saving your miles for future flights.

Use Your Existing Phone Plan

If you are a T-Mobile customer with a T-Mobile Magenta or Magenta MAX plan, you receive free United Wi-Fi with streaming services and unlimited texting. Wi-Fi benefits vary based on the plan you have.

Is Buying Wi-Fi Worth It?

Whether buying Wi-Fi is worth it to you depends on your priorities. Staying connected to friends during flights makes the flying experience more enjoyable for some people, and for them, it might be worth it.

It might also be worth it if you’re hoping to get a little extra work done (or your employer is paying for it).

Final Thoughts

Inflight internet has come a long way over the last few years, with more coverage options and airlines, including United, offering free service to eligible customers on select flights.

Luckily for United flyers, United has fitted almost all its aircraft with Wi-Fi capability. So, regardless of when and where you’re flying, you can purchase Wi-Fi access. If you are a frequent United flyer, purchasing a subscription or getting a United credit card may be worth it.

The information regarding the U.S. Bank Altitude™ Reserve Visa Infinite® Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which United aircraft have Wi-Fi?

United has fitted almost all of its aircraft with Wi-Fi capability. The exceptions are 737 aircraft operating in Guam and Micronesia.

How much does United Wi-Fi cost?

Pricing for United’s Wi-Fi varies. On U.S. domestic and short-haul international flights, like those to Mexico and Canada, Wi-Fi is $8 or 800 miles for MileagePlus members and $10 for everyone else.

How do you sign on to United Airlines Wi-Fi?

With your wireless device in airplane mode with only Wi-Fi enabled, locate the United_Wi-Fi wireless network, then launch a browser. If you aren’t redirected to the Wi-Fi portal, type unitedwifi.com in the URL. You can then purchase a plan and begin using it.

How do I purchase Wi-Fi on United before a flight?

You can purchase a United Wi-Fi Day Pass when you are booking your reservation. You can also select your trip from My Trips and view the Wi-Fi Day Pass option above your flight information.

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About Spencer Howard

Always a fan of flying, it was only natural that Spencer was drawn to finding a way to improve the travel experience.

Like many, he started this journey searching for cheap flights to take him around the world. This was fun for a while, but Spencer was intrigued by the idea of flying in business and first class!

Throwing himself into what became an extensive research project, Spencer spent 3-4 hours per night learning everything he could about frequent flyer miles over the course of several months (he thinks this is normal). He runs Straight to the Points, an award-seat alert platform.

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