Free In-Flight Wi-Fi Is A Real Thing, Check It Out!

As a frequent flyer myself, I am quite able in understanding the plight of all those passengers who have to shut their world down because, you know, they’re flying. As the world is going places, we are often stuck with the “no-internet” mode when we fly. I am not saying that it’s a bad thing, and once in a while, be it in an enforced way, shutting the world around you to take some time off is good; but what a maddening thing it would be if we could surf the web while flying.

16 major U.S. airlines are already offering free Wi-Fi services on their aircraft, Delta being the most popular, with a fleet of 500 Wi-Fi equipped aircraft. A majority of these airlines use services provided by Gogo Inflight Internet.


How Airplane Wi-Fi works?

In an age where we are still asked to turn our mobile phones off while flying, availing Wi-Fi seems like a privilege denied to many. To begin with, mobile phones and other gadgets interfere with sensitive electronic systems through radio waves, hindering the path of crucial information used for navigation, to communicate with the ground and to keep track of the components that keep aeroplanes in the air.

Airplane Wi-Fi, on the other hand, operates in a different way, using two routes. A network base of 3G broadband ground stations. As aeroplanes fly overhead, they communicate with these stations on the go. In this case, the bandwidth can remain limited to as little as 3.1Mbps for the entire flight and thus, companies are coming up with technologies like ATG-4 technology, equipping planes with dual modems and directional antennae, and this all helps boost total bandwidth to a theoretical maximum of 9.8Mbps.

The current technology is restricted to ground stations and is not available when a plane flies out over a sea. However, rumour has it that an alternative approach of a plane connecting to a  satellite is on its way and it will change the course of everything to come, soon. 


For now, here’s a list of airlines that offer the amazing experience of in-flight Wi-Fi

  1. Emirates

  2. Norwegian

  3. Icelandair

  4. Finnair

  5. Aer Lingus

  6. Southwest

  7. jetBlue

  8. Garuda Indonesia

  9. Hong Kong Airlines

  10. Nok Air

  11. Turkish Airlines

Coming to think of, if this works well, satellites have dozens of transponders to support a large number of simultaneous connections, e.g. ships, aeroplanes, portable ground terminals etc. We could be having a free Wi-Fi world zone! Whoopie!