Inflight wi-fi: The best airlines for wi-fi in the sky

Photo of Jacob LewisPhoto of Jacob Lewis
By Jacob Lewis

22 April 20246 min read

British Airways is taking the inflight internet to new heights by offering messaging for free, regardless of cabin class.

The complimentary service, which allows customers to use apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage and Facebook Messenger during the flight, is now available on all the airline’s wi-fi-enabled aircraft.

To connect to the network, which is limited to one device per passenger, customers simply have to sign up for, or sign into, their British Airways Executive Club account.

The ranks of airlines offering complimentary messaging via inflight wi-fi is growing. But knowing your online options before taking off on holiday can be a maze. Here's your guide to navigating inflight connectivity.

How much does inflight wi-fi cost?

This varies. Some airlines offer free messaging, while others provide free wi-fi for a limited time or for loyalty program members. Typically, you'll pay more for higher speeds and more data.

How fast is inflight wi-fi?

Don't expect regular home broadband speeds. Inflight wi-fi relies on satellites, so it can be spottier. Still, most airlines now offer speeds good for emailing, social media, or even some streaming.

Can I buy inflight wi-fi in advance?

Sometimes. Several airlines let you purchase wi-fi plans before your flight, which can sometimes be cheaper than onboard prices.

Does wi-fi work on international flights?

Most inflight wi-fi has expanded international coverage, even over the ocean, but there could be gaps. Check your airline's coverage map for specifics.

What about mobile phone data or calls?

While some airlines might offer a mobile service onboard, it's best to avoid connecting to these networks. Unlike wi-fi, where you’ll know exactly what you're paying, airline phone networks can lead to astronomical roaming charges.

These networks are less common nowadays, but if you accidentally connect, the costs can rack up quickly without you even realising it.

The best way to avoid this is to always switch off your phone's data services or ensure that roaming is completely disabled while you're on a flight.

Does my airline have wi-fi?

Most major airlines now offer some form of wi-fi, though smaller, budget carriers may not.

You’ll often miss out on wi-fi if you’re booking a package holiday, as the airlines that fly these routes are the least likely to offer wi-fi.

Before your flight, check your airline's website or look for a wi-fi symbol as you board. Check out our list of airlines that offer free, paid or no wi-fi, below.

Airlines with complimentary wi-fi services

British Airways

As of 3 April 2024, the British flag carrier began offering Executive Club members free messaging on all wi-fi-enabled aircraft. For more extensive internet use, British Airways offers a 'Browse' package (including browsing, social media, emails) and a 'Stream' package (including streaming services). Prices vary depending on flight duration.


JetBlue provides complimentary, high-speed wi-fi at every seat, supporting a wide range of online activities from browsing to streaming. Coverage is primarily within the US, with extended areas abroad, subject to variability due to factors like weather.


Norwegian offers 15 minutes of free wi-fi on most flights, with an option to upgrade to a premium, high-speed package suitable for activities like streaming. Connectivity is available upon boarding, with package selections through the Norwegian wi-fi portal. The upgraded premium package typically costs around £11.76 - £15.70 depending on flight duration.


Portugal's flag carrier provides free messaging on certain aircraft, with options to purchase additional data plans for broader internet access. Pricing for these plans can vary, so check directly with TAP Air Portugal or on its website.


Emirates offers unlimited free wi-fi suitable for messaging to all Skyward members, its free-to-join loyalty program. After that, you can purchase additional data packages, with full-flight plans typically ranging from £7.86 - £15.73 depending on flight length.

Delta Air Lines

Delta offers free messaging on most of its flights, enabling passengers to stay in touch with friends, family, and colleagues while in the air. For broader internet access, Delta is in the process of rolling out free wi-fi on the majority of its domestic mainline aircraft, with full availability planned on international and regional flights by the end of 2024.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest provides complimentary messaging and free live TV on its flights, with the option to purchase wi-fi access for broader internet usage at £6.30 per device, per flight.

Swiss International Air Lines

Swiss' SWISS Connect offers a free messaging package onboard long-haul flights. For more extensive web browsing, there’s a four-hour surfing package for £21.82, and a full-flight surfing package for £30.55.

Airlines with paid wi-fi services

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic offers wi-fi across all flights, with variable service and packages based on aircraft type. Options include messaging, web browsing, and email, with streaming capabilities on selected aircraft. Connectivity, supported by satellite, is subject to occasional coverage changes. Pricing starts at £2.99 for a messaging pass, £5.99 for a one-hour browsing pass, and £20.99 for a full-flight wi-fi pass.

Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines provides high-speed wireless internet on an increasing number of flights, with complimentary service for Business Class and certain Miles&Smiles members. Paid internet passes are available for other passengers, with prices ranging from £3.93 for unlimited messaging to £27.54 for unlimited internet on long-haul flights.


Finnair offers onboard wi-fi on long-haul and selected short-haul flights, with internet packages purchasable at different stages of booking and flight. Special offers for Finnair Plus members include complimentary packages. Prices vary depending on the package and length of access, with the highest price being £21.37 for the entire flight on long-haul routes.

Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus offers wi-fi and mobile network access on most A330 and all A321neoLR aircraft. Business class customers and AerClub Concierge members enjoy complimentary wi-fi. For those in economy, prices range from £2.99 to £17.99 depending on usage duration and data volume.

Air France

Air France offers a range of options on wi-fi-equipped aircraft, including complimentary messaging (Message Pass), surfing (Surf Pass), and streaming (Stream Pass) options. The gradual fleet-wide rollout of satellite connectivity technologies covers a significant portion of the fleet. Pricing for the Surf Pass varies by flight length, starting around £2.57 for short-haul flights and £15.42 for long-haul flights. The Stream Pass on long-haul flights typically costs around £25.70.


Lufthansa offers FlyNet, its onboard internet service, on most long-haul flights. Various data packages are available for purchase, including a FlyNet Message pass (for messaging only) starting at £4.27, a two-hour FlyNet Premium (for browsing) starting at £12.80, and a full-flight FlyNet pass (for streaming) starting at £21.34.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines provides onboard wi-fi with different price plans based on usage, available on most of its flights. Its plans currently include a one-hour Surf Plan for £3.14, a three-hour Surf Plan for £7.07, and a Full Flight Surf Plan for £12.58.

Airlines without wi-fi

Several airlines are yet to introduce inflight wi-fi services. Unfortunately, for UK holidaymakers the list features all of the UK’s most popular package holiday airlines. Popular carriers without inflight wi-fi include; easyJet, Jet2, TUI Airways, Ryanair and Wizz Air.

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