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How to Get Free Wi-Fi on a Plane with Your iPhone, iPad, or Mac

Free Wi-Fi

Though many airlines have recently taken steps to improve the overall flying experience, free Wi-Fi still remains elusive on most popular U.S.-based airliners. More often than not, Wi-Fi service is offered through a company called Gogo which provides Internet connectivity at varying rates depending on how long you want to use it. An all-day pass, for instance will set you back $16 while an hour pass will cost you $5.

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Now if you’re looking to get free Wi-Fi while traveling the friendly skies, well, look no further. A Reddit user recently posted the mother of all lifehacks detailing how to get free Wi-Fi when traveling on either US Airways, American Airlines, Delta, Air Canada, or Alaska Airlines.

The steps involved read as follows:

  1. Connect to the gogo wifi network
  2. Browse the movie library and find a free movie
  3. Click on the free movie and it will bring you to a page to download the gogo app
  4. Enter the code to access to App Store to get to the gogo app
  5. You will be in the App Store
  6. Go back to Safari and open a new tab
  7. Enjoy free wifi!

Simple as that.

The method used here is rather straight forward. In order to download the gogo app, you’re provided with temporary Internet connectivity. Once that’s enabled, you’ve given a period of time to begin the download. But instead of using your Wi-Fi connection to download the app, you can start browsing to your heart’s content.

This type of strategy is of course nothing new. As one Reddit commentor points out, something similar was possible on Netscape back in the day.

I used to do something very similar with Netscape back in the dark times of dial up. Pop in Netscape disk. Fill out some basic info to “sign up” Netscape would connect to the internet to confirm info. Open a new browser page, and presto! Free 56kbps glory.

The only caveat to this awesome Wi-Fi workaround is that you will have to re-start the process every 10-20 minutes depending on the airline. Still, it’s a clever and convenient way to get a little bit of web time in without having to pay for it.

Incidentally, this work around doesn’t appear to work with Android devices.

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.