Several years ago, T-Mobile had a deal with Gogo that offered 1 hour of free Wi-Fi on eligible Delta flights. This was great for us because we had just switched to T-Mobile from AT&T Wireless, mainly for the more affordable worldwide coverage.
Several things have happened since then, including Delta now uses different Wi-Fi providers, such as Viasat, for onboard internet. According to threads on Reddit, it looks like the T-Mobile/Gogo deal ended sometime in 2021.
Apparently, T-Mobile customers made it known that they liked this perk of membership, so T-Mobile is bringing in-flight Wi-Fi back for them, and it’s even better than before.
Starting June 21, eligible customers now have free in-flight connectivity options that include full-flight Wi-Fi and streaming on their smartphone, where available. In addition to Wi-Fi and streaming, you can also text all flight long where available. Meaning you can watch all your streaming benefits and stay connected on your smartphone at 30,000 feet.
With their new “In-Flight Connection” service, T-Mobile customers with Magenta plans will get in-flight Wi-Fi on eligible flights.
- Magenta MAX plans get unlimited full-flight Wi-Fi & streaming and unlimited texting.
- Magenta plans get to choose 4 full flights a year with Wi-Fi & streaming, 1 hour of in-flight Wi-Fi & streaming on additional flights and always get unlimited texting.
According to T-Mobile, the service will launch first on Alaska Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. United Airlines will follow and “we’ll continue to get even more added over time.”
There are some tech requirements necessary to take advantage of the service. Besides this, eligible members do not have to enroll in the service.
Before you board, ensure you have:
- A compatible T-Mobile or Sprint phone that is on the most recent software.
- A valid e911 address on file with T-Mobile or Sprint for your mobile number. You can verify this at MyT-Mobile or My Sprint.
- Made at least one Wi-Fi call with your current SIM card on your current phone.
On larger flights, in-flight Wi-Fi may be available at the gate, generally the cabin crew will provide instructions once in-flight Wi-Fi is available and most flights will have information on how to connect in the seat-back pocket.
- Place your device into Airplane mode and turn on Wi-Fi
- Make sure Wi-Fi Calling is set to enabled or on
- Select the airline’s Wi-Fi network (DeltaWifi, AlaskaWifi, etc.)
- Open any internet browser to go to the Wi-Fi homepage
- You will be automatically redirected to a login page
- If you are not redirected type wifionboard.com into your browser
- Select “In-Flight Connection On Us”
- Enter your Sprint or T-Mobile phone number
- Enter the CAPTCHA letters and numbers in the box if prompted
- Tap “Get Wi-Fi and Texting,” the confirmation screen will appear to confirm you are connected
Unfortunately, there’s no way to know if the plane you’re taking will have the service. When asked how you can check if the service will be on an upcoming flight, T-Mobile gave this answer:
In general, the best way to check if In-Flight Connection is available on your flight is to go through the process to connect to Wi-Fi once on the place [sic]. If In-Flight Connection On Us is listed as an option, that means customers can get free in-flight connectivity on their smartphone.
Whatever the hiccups with the roll-out, having free Wi-Fi & streaming on Alaska, Delta, American and United flights is a huge win and one more reason I’m glad we switched.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary