T-Mobile adds United Airlines to its free inflight internet lineup

Free inflight Wi-Fi is now a reality on United Airlines — for some lucky flyers.

The Chicago-based carrier announced in conjunction with T-Mobile that eligible subscribers would now receive free internet access on United flights.

T-Mobile subscribers who have the Magenta or Magenta MAX plan will now have access to Wi-Fi on United. The former plan includes four full-flight passes each year, with one hour of internet access available on all other flights. Meanwhile, Magenta MAX subscribers receive unlimited free inflight Wi-Fi all year long.

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The complimentary internet access includes streaming capabilities on eligible aircraft. At the outset, the United and T-Mobile partnership will only cover jets equipped with Viasat or Thales InFlyt Wi-Fi service on both domestic and short-haul international routes.

This includes the:

  • Entire Boeing 737 fleet, including the MAX 8 and MAX 9.
  • Select Boeing 757-300s.
  • Select A319s.

In addition to Viasat and Thales, United partners with Panasonic and Gogo to provide internet access across the remainder of its narrowbody fleet, as well as its long-haul and regional jets.

The latter two providers will not be covered under the initial partnership, though a teaser on the United website says that “if you’re an eligible T-Mobile customer, starting this fall you’ll get free inflight Wi-Fi on all United domestic and international flights.”

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United is the latest carrier to join the lineup of airlines offering free Wi-Fi to T-Mobile subscribers. Select American, Alaska and Delta flights are also equipped with a free Wi-Fi option for T-Mobile customers.

T-Mobile is a popular wireless carrier for frequent flyers. In addition to free inflight Wi-Fi, many plans include a generous allowance of high-speed international data roaming. Once you’ve gone through your allotment of 5G data, you’ll enjoy unlimited throttled internet access when roaming.

That’s in stark contrast to the two other major U.S. cellular providers, AT&T and Verizon, both of which charge users $10 a day to roam internationally and use data abroad.

Adding T-Mobile is the latest improvement that United has brought to its inflight internet service. The carrier recently debuted revamped pricing for everyone else.

Connectivity on all domestic and short-haul international flights now costs a flat $8 per device. Internet access on long-haul flights continues to range in price depending on the duration of the flight. I recently paid $23.99 for Wi-Fi from Brussels to Newark and $16.99 for a flight from Newark to Nice.

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United also recently renamed its Wi-Fi network name to Unitedwifi.com. The airline also redesigned the splash page for its Wi-Fi network, making it even easier for first-timers to connect to the network.

While T-Mobile subscribers are the big winners in Friday’s announcement, hopefully, United will commit to offering free Wi-Fi to all passengers in the future. That’s something Delta’s planning to roll out and an amenity that JetBlue has long offered.