A Complete Guide To United Airlines Inflight Wi-Fi 2022

Staying connected to the virtual world on air has become necessary in this age. That is why United Airlines went the extra mile in equipping its fleets with the latest Wi-Fi technology to help you catch up with your work, your socials, as well as business associates while flying.

United Airlines, located at Willis Tower, Chicago in Illinois, is the third leading airline worldwide by brand value as of 2021.

The US-based airline covers up to 332 domestic and international destinations with about 813 main fleets, alongside its regional branch, United Express®, owning about 512 regional fleets.

It is a co-founder of the Star Alliance Group, also the leading airline group in terms of customer traffic.

United Airlines Wi-Fi Plans and Pricing

United Wi-Fi has different plans for different needs.

Once onboard, you can buy a United Wi-Fi package to enjoy full internet service, activate text messaging, and other features.

You can also subscribe to any Wi-Fi package for easy access, so you can always maintain a connection on any United or United Express® flight installed with Wi-Fi.

On certain flights, MileagePlus® members can even use their acquired miles to buy a Wi-Fi package.

Prices for United Wi-Fi differ.

There are three purchasing options:

Monthly and Annual Wi-Fi Plans:

This plan grants internet access on any Wi-Fi-installed aircraft on United for a whole month or year, depending on the region.

You can use the pass to send and receive texts, browse the internet, or connect to your social networks.

RegionMonthly plan (in USD)Annual plan (in USD)
North and Central America$49/7,500 miles$539/80,000 miles
Global$69/10,500 miles$689/100,000 miles

The monthly/annual plan comes with a $0 one-time initiation fee, so no additional charges are involved.

Moreover, purchasing the yearly plan would save you up to $139 each year.

Wi-Fi Day Plan:

Alternatively, you can get the Wi-Fi Day plan for pre-access to Wi-Fi on any United or United Express® Wi-Fi-installed aircraft in the continental United States.

The pass activates an hour before take-off and continues for the duration of your flight within 24 hours.

To purchase the Wi-Fi Day plan, find your trip on the My Trips page by entering your confirmation or MileagePlus® number (for members).

 Price (in USD)
MileagePlus® members/ regional flights$8
Non-members/domestic flights$10

Onboard Purchase Plans:

Passengers can pay for Wi-Fi access while onboard without a prior subscription.

MileagePlus® members can log in to their account after joining the plane’s Wi-Fi hotspot and use either acquired miles or a saved credit card to buy a plan.

Non-members of MileagePlus® can also pay using:

  • Credit cards (Visa, Discover, American Express, and MasterCard), or
  • iPass

However, if you are flying on a United Express® airplane with Gogo-supplied Wi-Fi, you can buy an All-day plan from Gogo via a Gogo account only.

DurationPrice (in USD)
One-hour plan$7
All-day plan$19

Note that the pricing stated above, asides from the monthly and annual plans, is for domestic and regional flights.

International flights differ in pricing.

How To Connect To United Wi-Fi?

  • Go to device settings and set your device in airplane mode.
  • Ensure to turn on your device’s Wi-Fi.
  • Select and join the “United_Wi-Fi” hotspot.
  • Open your device browser to view the United Wi-Fi webpage.
  • If the page does not open automatically, you type and search for www.unitedwifi.com.
  • Buy and enjoy your Wi-Fi package.
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If you do not require Wi-Fi access, you can browse the United Wi-Fi webpage for free.

With United Wi-Fi, you can:

  • View your flight details
  • View a connecting flight status
  • Search landing gate and baggage claim details
  • View digital boarding tickets
  • Purchase new tickets for flight, accommodation, or car rental.

United Airlines Wi-Fi Timeline

United Airlines was the first airline based in the U.S. to introduce the speedier satellite-based Wi-Fi on its international aircraft for passengers to retain internet connectivity while flying long-distance routes.

The installation, announced on 15th January 2013, began with the trans-Atlantic/trans-Pacific-routed Boeing 747 using Panasonic Avionics’ Ku-band satellite network.

In addition, the Ku-band satellite-based Wi-Fi supplied two domestic-routed Airbus 319, providing passengers with speedier in-flight Wi-Fi service than the ground-based Wi-Fi network. 

The original plan was to equip up to 300 mainline aircraft with satellite-based Wi-Fi by the end of 2013, including the following: Airbus A319 and A320 planes, and Boeing 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, and 787 fleets.

Currently, mainline aircraft, apart from those operating to and fro Guam, and all regional two-compartment aircraft offer satellite-based Wi-Fi service supplied by four different network providers.

Passengers also had two purchasing options: Standard plan, initially priced between $3.99 and $14.99 depending on flight length and Accelerated placed between $5.99 and $19.99 with a higher download speed.

Airlines With In-flight Wi-Fi On United Airlines

Since the retrofitting of aircraft with satellite-based Wi-Fi began in 2013, United Airlines now has nearly all its aircraft equipped, more than the initially planned 300 aircraft.

Aircraft equipped with this speedier Wi-Fi version includes all the international carriers and every regional aircraft with two compartments, excluding widebodies flying to and fro Guam.

However, rather than having only Panasonic as its only service provider, it now uses extra three network providers – Gogo, Viasat, and Thales, to bring satellite-based Wi-Fi to its domestic and international fleets.

Here is an updated list of the airline’s fleets offering in-flight Wi-Fi with their service providers:

Service ProviderEquipped Aircraft
GogoBombardier CRJ-550 and CRJ-700 Embraer 170 and 175.
PanasonicSome no. of Boeing 757-200 Airbus 320 Some no. of Airbus 319 Certain no. of Boeing 757-300, 787-8, 787-9, 767-300ER, 777-300ER, 777-200, 777-200ER, 767-400ER, and 787-10.
ThalesBoeing 737-700, 737-900ER, 737-800, 737-900 Certain no. of 757-300.
ViasatSome no. of Airbus A319 Some no. of  Boeing 737-900 Boeing 757-200 with premium transcontinental network 737 MAX 9.

How To Ascertain If Your Flight Provides In-flight Wi-Fi

You can determine whether your flight offers in-flight Wi-Fi by checking the information monitor at the take-off gate or using the “Amenities” tab of the flight status page on either the United app or united.com.

Network Providers Of In-flight Wi-Fi Onboard United Airlines

In its quest to improve passenger satisfaction and reduce complaints about constant poor quality in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity, United sourced four different partners to deliver high-quality internet Wi-Fi on its aircraft for enhanced customer experience.

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The four network providers are:

  • Gogo
  • Panasonic Avionics
  • Thales
  • Viasat

All four network providers use satellite technology to supply satellite-based internet Wi-Fi onboard United aircraft.

Gogo employs fast 2Ku satellite-based Wi-Fi, Viasat has a Ka-band satellite model, and Panasonic has a Ku-band satellite model.

Each provider has its coverage area.

  • Gogo’s coverage area includes the continental U.S., Alaska, and Canada.
  • Panasonic has global coverage (used mainly on international flights).
  • Thales covers the continental U.S.
  • Viasat’s coverage area includes the Caribbean, Canada, the continental U.S., Mexico, Central America, and Europe.

Features Of United Airlines Wi-Fi

  • United Airlines uses satellite-based in-flight Wi-Fi to provide high-speed and quality internet connectivity onboard its aircraft.
  • The Wi-Fi is available on all international planes, except Guam-based airplanes and every regional two-compartment aircraft.
  • Wi-Fi connectivity is gate-to-gate on some flights like 737s, 787s, 777-300s, while others gain and lose connectivity above and below 10,000 feet altitude, respectively.
  • Wi-Fi coverage areas may differ, and outages might occur due to weather conditions, regulated zones, and the changing satellite towers during flights.
  • Boeing 737 fleets would only have Wi-Fi coverage inside the continental U.S., while the 737s flying to and fro Guam and Micronesia would not have Wi-Fi.
  • Also, Boeing 757-200 and 757-300 aircraft would have different Wi-Fi coverages since they have three separate network providers.
  • Wi-Fi on regional two-compartment aircraft would have coverage only in the continental U.S. and Canada.
  • United Wi-Fi plan and pricing generally depend on flight duration and route.
  • Regional routes are short-distance local U. S.
  • Domestic routes are short-to-medium-distance flights between the U.S,  Canada, and Mexico.
  • International routes refer to flights to and fro other countries, asides from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
  • These three routes all have two plan features Messaging- for sending and receiving texts via apps like WhatsApp, iMessage, and Facebook Messenger; Basic- for browsing, emailing and sending multimedia messages while flying.
  • The Messaging feature began free on most aircraft in December 2021.
  • Passengers can now send and receive texts entirely for free via IP-based text messaging.
  • The free messaging may be unavailable for some flights (some 757s, 767s , and 787) and does not support multimedia messages and SMS.
  • The Basic plan feature allows VPN access when connected to Wi-Fi.
  • Some flights do not have in-flight connectivity outside the continental U.S.
  • Also, United Wi-Fi does not support streaming videos from Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO®, YouTube, Vevo, e.t.c.
  • All calls, including Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), voice, or video calls via apps like Skype™ and FaceTime®, are strictly disallowed and unsupported onboard flights.
  • The MileagePlus® is United Airlines’ frequent flyer program where members can get discounted tickets and prices based on the number of miles gained.
  • They can also use the miles to purchase the monthly/annual Wi-Fi and Day plan for domestic and certain international flights.
  • This feature is available on the new Wi-Fi portal, United Wi-Fi, launched in 2018 and accessible on limited flights.
  • Additionally, members can switch devices by logging into their MileagePlus® account on a different device.
  • All other information is obtainable on the Wi-Fi FAQ page.

In-flight Entertainment On United Airlines

United Airlines values onboard in-flight entertainment, as seen by their actions in post-Covid 2021.

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It invested in the in-flight entertainment system, purchasing almost 300 new airlines fitted with seatback entertainment monitors with a five-year delivery period.

The Chicago-based carrier did not just stop there. Plans to retrofit its current narrow-body airlines (excluding the regional fleet) with seatback screens began in 2022 so that passengers would not have to wait for the new planes to enjoy this new feature.

USA TODAY  made this report after Toby Enqvist, the Chief Customer Officer responded in a meeting with correspondents.

He replied that the airline does not think streaming on personal devices is good enough for its customers. Also, he said that the airline plans to have seatback entertainment screens on every seat.

Currently, the airline offers varieties of in-flight entertainment options with its newest model seatback entertainment system. Passengers can access entertainment, personal flight and destination details, and relaxation modes on the new seatback monitors. The options span across the following:

United Private Screening℠

This option offers the newest Hollywood releases, hot TV shows, and others via personal devices or seatback monitors, depending on the airlines.

Visit the United Private Screening page to see what movies, TV shows, and audio options might show on your flight as well as the month’s releases.

Personal Device Entertainment

This option offers free streamed entertainment to your mobile devices with an extensive collection of movies and TV shows on your mobile devices (laptops, iOS, or Andriod devices).

This feature is only accessible on some flights.

To gain access, download the United app on your mobile device and ensure it’s fully charged before boarding.

Then, once on board;

  • Connect to the in-flight Wi-Fi hotspot and visit the United Wi-Fi webpage
  • Go to the United app and tap the “Entertainment” tab.
  • Click the “Browse movies and TV shows” tab and pick a movie or TV show.
  • Click “Watch” to begin.

On laptops:

  • Open the United Wi-Fi webpage and click on the “Entertainment” tab.
  • Choose a movie or TV show.
  • Click “Watch” to begin.

Go to the Personal Device Entertainment page to view and find out other requirements.

DIRECTV®

Selected flights provide free access to the DIRECTV® program featuring over 100 TV channels and the latest films.

This feature is only accessible inside the continental U.S.

To determine if your flight has the DIRECTV® program, check the ‘flight status’ page a day before your flight and input your flight number. Search for the DIRECTV® sign in the ‘Amenities’ tab.

Other In-flight Entertainment

United’s in-flight magazine, Hemispheres, offers the latest news on business, travel, sports, education, entertainment, and general lifestyle. Enjoy trending tropical and detailed stories while flying.

The magazine is also accessible on the internet.

Most Asked Questions

What Device Can Access United Wi-Fi?

United Wi-Fi is accessible on most mobile phones, laptops, and tablets. It supports Android, Apple®, Windows®, Nokia, BlackBerry, and Kindle devices.
The following browsers are also supported:
-Chrome
-Internet Explorer 7+
-Safari for Mac OS/iOS
-Firefox

Can I Use Different Devices On The United Wi-Fi?

No. You cannot use two devices to access the Wi-Fi simultaneously. However, you can switch devices when you log into your MileagePlus account on a different device.

Can I Purchase A Wi-Fi Pass Onboard?

Yes. The airline offers an onboard Wi-Fi plan for purchase though it is more expensive than paying ahead of your flight.

References

  • https://www.statista.com/statistics/275944/brand-value-of-airlines/
  • https://www.united.com/en/us/newsroom/corporate-fact-sheet.html
  • https://www.statista.com/statistics/271415/share-of-airline-alliances-in-passenger-traffic/
  • https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/united-airlines-launches-satellite-based-wi-fi-service-186967321.html
  • https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/inflight/wifi-coverage-maps.html
  • https://www.unitedwifi.com/
  • https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/inflight/wifi.html#wifi-1
  • https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/subscription/wifi
  • https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/inflight/wifi-day-pass.html
  • https://www.united.com/en/us/manageres/mytrips
  • https://www.gogoair.com/for-passengers/
  • https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/help/faq/wifi.html
  • https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/airline-news/2021/06/29/united-airlines-inflight-entertainment-seatback-screens/7790919002/
  • http://unitedprivatescreening.com/interactive/
  • https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/inflight/entertainment.html
  • http://unitedprivatescreening.com/personaldevices
  • https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/inflight/entertainment/directv.html
  • https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/inflight.html
  • https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/travel/inflight/entertainment/reading.html
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