How Does Airplane WiFi Work? History of Inflight WiFi

How Does Airplane WiFi Work? History of Inflight WiFi

Connectivity is the buzzword of today. We all want to be connected as much as possible, as often as possible. It’s no surprise that the need for the internet has been a major demand from passengers on airplanes. Inflight WiFi has been around for a long time now and it’s not going anywhere. Does inflight (airplane) WiFi work?

There are many different providers for inflight Wi-Fi, with each provider having a slightly different set of features and services available to their customers. Which one is best for you? What factors should you consider before making a purchase decision? Read this article to find out more!

Airplanes are known for their limited connectivity with the outside world. This is especially true when it comes to Wi-Fi. Airlines have been slow to adopt inflight wireless technology, with most US airlines still not offering Wi-Fi on domestic flights. But why has the adoption of inflight Wi-Fi been so slow? And what does this mean for us now? Find out about the history of inflight Wi-Fi and how it’s changed planes forever!

What is inflight Wi-Fi?

Inflight WiFi is a service that allows passengers to connect to the internet while they’re on an airplane. It’s possible because inflight Wi-Fi works in conjunction with the plane’s cabin antennae, satellite, and ground station.

Inflight Wi-Fi is the ability to access the internet on an airplane. It’s not uncommon for modern airplanes to offer WiFi capabilities, and it’s also not unheard of for these connections to be available at an additional fee. Regardless, most airlines are investing in this technology in order to stay on trend with their competitors, while also providing a valuable service to their passengers.

The need for inflight WiFi has been steadily gaining momentum over the years. The demand has risen so much that some airlines have taken steps towards offering this feature on all of their flights, while others have made it available on only select flights.

Many airlines offer this service as part of their fares for a fee, but not all airlines offer it. If you don’t want to purchase an inflight WiFi package from your airline, you can also purchase the service as a separate option.

Related article: Which North American Airlines Provide InFlight WiFi? 

WiFi on airplanes: how does it work?

Inflight WiFi has been on the rise since the early 2000s. With more and more people using it on a daily basis, airlines began to introduce new ways for passengers to stay connected on their flights. But what exactly is inflight Wi-Fi?

It’s an internet connection that can be accessed while you’re in the air. You’ll need a wireless-enabled laptop or tablet to get the signal. Once you’ve got your device, you’ll need to download your airline’s app and log in before your flight takes off. At this point, you’re all set and ready to go!

The most common way for passengers to access inflight Wi-Fi is through their smartphone or tablet device. If this isn’t an option for you, there are also some models of laptops that have built-in Wi-Fi functionality so they can connect without an external device such as an iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone.

The next step is deciding which provider you want to go with. At present time, Gogo Inflight Internet has become one of the most popular options among travelers in America and abroad.

History of inflight WiFi

WiFi has been around for a long time now, which is no surprise considering the need for internet. Inflight Wi-Fi has been around since 2002 when it was introduced by Connexion by Boeing using Ka-Band technology the better technology as compared to Ku-Band technology. Since then, many airlines have followed suit and introduced their own inflight Wi-Fi services.

Inflight Wi-Fi is now available from all major airlines and is being offered as a paid service on most flights.

As of now, inflight WiFi appears to be here to stay. In December 2021, there were over 300 airlines providing inflight WiFi services and nearly three-quarters of those were free. Given its history, it would seem that offering internet connectivity is a safe bet for an airline.

How good is airplane WiFi? And does it work?

So, how good is inflight WiFi? Does airplane WiFi work? In general, the quality of the internet connection won’t be as fast or reliable as it would be on a ground-based network. This is because there are often communication difficulties when an airplane is flying at high altitudes.

Inflight WiFi can also have a limited bandwidth capacity. If there are too many people using the same “lanes,” bandwidth capacity will start to get overloaded and a lot of people may not be able to access the internet connection.

Airlines with newer aircrafts may have an improved in-flight connectivity system that allows for better speeds and more availability. However, these systems are often new and expensive, which means not every airline will have them installed yet.

What are the different types of WiFi on airplanes?

Inflight WiFi is becoming a necessity for passengers who want to stay connected. There are a few different types of inflight WiFi available to customers, each with its own unique benefits and features.

There is the traditional Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi, where you can access email and browse websites for a cost. It is an internet-only and does not include streaming services like Netflix or Hulu.

Then there’s Fly-Fi from Virgin America, which includes both internet and streaming services. With Fly-Fi, you will be able to purchase content straight from your seatback screen.

Finally, some carriers like Delta offer satellite WiFi service instead of ground-based antennas. This means that your connection will be stronger and more stable than other types of WiFi connections on airplanes.

Why is it important for airlines to offer inflight WiFi services?

It can be hellish to be stuck on a flight with no WiFi, so it’s no surprise that many airlines are providing inflight Wi-Fi services. According to a report by Bespoke Travel Intelligence, an aviation IT consulting firm, the number of passengers for whom the internet is important has increased by 50% in just three years. What this means is that more passengers are expecting Wi-Fi on flights.

The demand for WiFi-enabled flights is also expected to grow at the rate of 12% every year, which doesn’t even include the growing demand from business travelers. This means that more and more people are storing their data online and expecting to have reliable access to it when they want it.

Airlines are responding to these demands by providing WiFi-enabled flights because they want their customers happy. Airlines know how annoying traveling can be without their devices connected to the internet, so they’re making sure everyone has access!

Why isn’t there WiFi on several airplanes?

The need for Wi-Fi on airplanes has been a major demand from passengers.

However, airlines, including Delta and American Airlines, haven’t been providing in-flight Wi-Fi to their customers in some airplanes.

The reason is that Wi-Fi can interfere with the inflight entertainment system.

With the inflight entertainment systems that are in use today, Wi-Fi signals can disrupt and cause problems with signals coming to and from the plane.

Due to this risk of interference and potential hazards to safety and navigation equipment, airlines err on the side of caution by not providing in-flight WiFi.

They also want to make sure that they’re compliant with FAA regulations.

Do planes have WiFi over the ocean?

Before you can determine which inflight WiFi provider is best for you, it’s important to understand what type of inflight Wi-Fi services there is. Different providers offer different services, so you’ll need to know the differences between each one.

One type of inflight Wi-Fi is called “air-to-ground” Wi-Fi. Air-to-ground providers are ground-based and use satellites to connect airliners with wireless connectivity on the ground. This service has higher potential latency, but a lower cost for customers.

Another type of inflight Wi-Fi is called satellite-based Wi-Fi. Satellite-based providers use satellites in order to connect airplanes with wireless connectivity from the sky. These types of providers can have higher latency than air-to-ground providers, but they’re more affordable than Gogo Inflight WiFi.

Each type of inflight internet service has its own pros and cons that you’ll need to take into consideration before deciding which one is right for your needs!

Related article: How to Reduce Latency on Satellite Internet: 9 Effective Methods

Which provider should I choose for my inflight Wi-Fi services?

The world of inflight WiFi providers is bustling with activity. With many different providers available to airline passengers, it’s important to think about which one will suit your needs best.

First, look at the type of device you’ll be using on the plane. Some providers offer services specifically for mobile devices, while others only provide internet access for laptops and desktops. If you plan on using a tablet or smartphone during your flight, then it’s best to go with a provider that has mobile apps for their service.

Secondly, consider what features are included in the package you’re considering. Features like unlimited data storage and the ability to print boarding passes from an onboard printer may be worth paying more for if they fit into your travel routines.

Finally, compare how much bandwidth each provider offers and how much data allowance each package offers: this is where all those megabytes and gigabytes come in handy! It’s also important to note whether or not additional fees apply for exceeding the data allowance; if so, make sure you know exactly what those fees are before committing to a purchase decision.

Factors to consider when choosing an airline WiFi provider

It’s important to consider what factors will be most important for your needs before you make a purchase decision. Some factors may be more pertinent to certain types of travelers, but here are a few general guidelines:

  • Price: There is a wide range in pricing for inflight Wi-Fi. Do some research to find the best price for you and your needs.
  • Features: Some providers offer features that others don’t, such as access to social media or streaming content. Research all providers’ available features before making your final purchase decision.
  • Speed: What kind of speed do you need? Is it slow enough for simple tasks like email, or does it need to support high-speed video streaming? Once again, research different providers and their speeds before settling on one.

Understanding airline pricing

Airline pricing can be a little complicated to understand. There are many factors that go into determining the price of a flight. Airlines use a variety of pricing models, and some carriers offer different classes on their flights that can change the prices of tickets.

The most common types of airline pricing models include:

  • Yield management
  • Pricing by region
  • Market-based pricing
  • Airlines with membership fees

These various models all have their own pros and cons, but they all come down to one main issue: deciding what is best for you. For instance, if you’re looking for a lower-cost flight, market-based pricing may be your best option.

On the other hand, if you need a specific route or class of service, then a membership fee may make more sense. It’s important to know what you’re willing to spend before signing up for any inflight Wi-Fi provider in order to get the most value from your purchase decision.

Does Southwest have WiFi in-flight?

Southwest Airlines is one of the few carriers that offer WiFi in-flight. They offer a service called, “Internet from the sky” which ranges from $8 to $26 per flight. You can also purchase a monthly plan for $49/month or a yearly subscription for $499.

One thing to keep in mind is that WiFi on Southwest won’t work if your plane is below 10,000 feet within the U.S. Southwest doesn’t yet have an international WiFi option but they are exploring ways to increase their coverage domestically.

Do Delta planes have WiFi?

Delta Air Lines is one of the few airlines to offer inflight WiFi on international flights. The Delta WiFi experience has several different options, depending on the date of your flight.

  • First-class passengers may have access to Delta’s GoGo inflight internet service. This provides a fast, reliable connection with up to 1 gigabit per second download speeds and 1 megabit per second upload speeds.
  • The first 10 rows in economy class will also have access to Wi-Fi service for free.
  • Passengers seated in the back of the plane will have limited internet connectivity through GoGo Inflight Internet service.

Delta planes are equipped with Wi-Fi at this time but it is only available for first-class passengers or those in row 10 or higher.

WiFi on planes UK


The prices for inflight WiFi vary dramatically between providers. Prices range from $20-$60 for a 10-hour flight, and can be as high as $200 for a 12-hour flight.

One important thing to look at before making a purchase decision is the type of service you want. Some airlines offer only basic internet service, not allowing passengers to browse the internet freely. Others offer a service that allows passengers to browse the internet freely but charges them per MB of data consumed. And still, others offer a service that provides free access to certain websites with charged fees for other sites accessed during your time on the plane.

Another important factor is whether or not you’ll be taking more than one flight with your chosen provider. In many cases, the cost is higher if you plan on taking more than one flight using their services within a certain period of time. So it’s worth looking into this variable before making a decision.

Lastly, consider what type of device you’ll use on your flights – if you have an iPad or laptop then Wi-Fi may be enough for your needs, but if you’re bringing a tablet then you might need to invest in something that also works as a mobile hotspot so

Can I use multiple devices simultaneously or does each device need its own.

If you want to use your device for the internet, you need a data plan. Each device needs its own data plan. So if you have a laptop and a tablet, they will each need their own data plan. You can’t share a data plan with multiple devices.

How to get internet on a plane without WiFi?

If you are on a plane without WiFi, you can use your phone’s data to stay connected. If you have an unlocked phone, then it will work on any type of GSM network that your phone is compatible with. This includes AT&T and T-Mobile.

You also have the option of using your laptop to access the internet if you have a Wi-Fi hotspot or if you are able to tether with your phone.

However, this connection is limited since it will only work where there is network connectivity unlike satellite connection used in airline WiFi. Ka-Band technology is employed that optimizes satellite connection in planes thus giving you an excellent connection.

Advantages of inflight WiFi

For some, it is hard to imagine life without WiFi. We rely on it for everything from emails to phone calls to social media content. Why should flights be any different?

Hitting the skies with inflight WiFi is an awesome idea for many reasons. There are more than enough benefits of inflight Wi-Fi that make it worth investing in. Here are just a few:

  • Increased passenger satisfaction
  • Reduced airtime costs for passengers due to fewer making phone calls
  • Enhanced safety and security by allowing passengers to send SOS messages
  • Increased productivity of the crew by freeing up their time spent on the ground
  • Ability for airlines to offer passengers new services via internet connection (e.g., video games, TV streaming)

Disadvantages of inflight WiFi

One of the disadvantages of inflight WiFi is that it can be a major distraction to passengers. Planes are notorious for being relatively quiet and peaceful places, but this is not the case when people have inflight Wi-Fi available. With so many people logged on at all times, people will not only be distracted from their work or entertainment on their devices but also from those around them.

Another disadvantage is that some airlines may charge for inflight Wi-Fi. This may make it difficult for passengers who don’t want to pay more money for a flight to enjoy inflight Wi-Fi.

The 9/11 terror incident also made inquiries about whether inflight WiFi is really necessary and its risks.


WiFi has been around for a while, but it wasn’t until recently that it became available aboard airplanes. It’s one of the few modern luxuries that we can still enjoy during a flight. Why was WiFi not available on airplanes years ago? This post will answer this question and also cover the history of inflight Wi-Fi and why it’s so important to have WiFi in planes nowadays.


Can I get internet on a plane without WiFi?

Yes, you can get internet on a plane without WiFi. However, this connection will be limited to on-ground connections or areas with mobile telephony services. This is because you need to use a mobile hotspot for the connection.

What is GOGO?

It is an inflight WiFi networking technology launched in November 2008. From its launch to now, GoGo is associated with several airlines across the globe. It offers services to airlines like Virgin America, Air Canada, Delta Air Lines, AirTran, Alaska Airlines, British Airways, American Airlines, among others. Gogo was first introduced to Virgin America.