Where to get in-flight Wi-Fi when traveling

Hoping to unplug from the digital world during an impending flight? You no longer have the excuse that you can't get online in the sky. More than 20 percent of the worldwide fleet of commercial aircraft—amounting to about 4,000 aircraft—is equipped to offer Internet connectivity, according to the research firm IHS. Seventy-five percent of those planes offer Wi-Fi only; the rest are equipped to provide a cellular connection (non-U.S. airlines only) or some combination of Wi-Fi and cell service. IHS forecasts that half of all aircraft will be equipped by 2022.

Here’s an overview of the current state of on-the-go Internet availability for travelers.

Find out what 3,000 leisure travelers have to say about their experiences with in-flight Wi-Fi. And check our survey results about airport Wi-Fi

About 38 percent of U.S. flights are equipped with Wi-Fi, according to an analysis by Routehappy, which ranks the quality and amenities of flights.

Wi-Fi availability is spottier on overseas flights due to the technology required to maintain the connection over long distances of water. Therefore, few international flights departing from the United States are Internet-enabled. Most of the service can be found on American and Lufthansa, according to Routehappy.


Wi-Fi availability

U.S. domestic flights

Alaska Airlines

Says it offers Wi-Fi on “almost all” of its aircraft operating within the lower 48 states and certain areas of Alaska.

American Airlines

Says it is available on "nearly all" domestic flights.


All two-class U.S. flights—meaning those with economy- and first- or business-class sections.


In a beta period of installing Ka-band, the fastest service available. A limited number of flights are enabled.

Southwest Says that “a majority” of its flights are equipped.
United Availability varies from 0 to 100 percent of a given aircraft type. All Boeing 757s flying JFK to LAX or SFO are equipped. Check the type of aircraft you are flying.

U.S. Airways

90 percent of fleet is equipped.

International flights to/from the United States

Aer Lingus

Transatlantic flights on A330 aircraft.

American Airlines

All flights with 777-300ER aircraft, which includes to/from: Dallas/London, Dallas/Sao Paulo, Los Angeles/London, New York (JFK)/London, and New York/Sao Paulo.

British Airways

Only on its exclusive Club World London City flights to/from New York.

Delta Two international flights, from Los Angeles and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airports to Tokyo Narita airport.

Japan Airlines

Between Tokyo (Narita) and New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Frankfurt, and Jakarta, as well as Tokyo (Haneda) to London and Paris.

TAP Portugal

A330 fleet’s transatlantic routes.

United Transatlantic and transpacific flights on 747-400 aircraft.

These lists are not exhaustive, and the availability changes often.You can search for Internet-enabled flights on, which also displays the availability of power outlets and USB ports.

Even when connecting to the Internet is possible, it might not provide the speed and reliability that you're used to on the ground. That might explain why, in a recent survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, only 23 percent of the 3,000 leisure passengers polled attempted to connect to Wi-Fi while on a flight, and only 16 percent actually connected.

A few caveats. For the most part, you won’t be able to make a voice call. In-flight cellular connections are prohibited over North American airspace, and most airlines won’t allow Internet-enabled voice calls either. And don’t expect to be able to stream video. The available bandwith will largely limit you to checking e-mail and social networks.

Pricing varies and is based on time online or various time-defined passes. For example, GoGo, the Internet supplier for American Airlines, Delta, United, and others, charges $5 for 60 continuous minutes of access on a single domestic flight, and $59.95 per month for an auto-renewing unlimited subscription, with other options available.

—Susan Feinstein

Know your airline's carry-on rules before you fly, and check out our luggage buying guide for tips on getting the luggage that suits you.

Copyright © 2005-2014 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission. Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this site.