The Tech-Friendliest Airlines: Wi-Fi and Gadgets on Planes

The first Wi-Fi flight. Credit: JetBlue Facebook page.

(Image credit: The first Wi-Fi flight. Credit: JetBlue Facebook page.)

Recently, the FAA ruled that electronic devices do not interfere with airplane equipment and can now be used for an entire flight, not just when the plane hits cruising altitude — from taxiing to takeoff to landing. Since that ruling, airlines have been getting their planes inspected by the FAA to confirm that they can accommodate electronics safely. From there, each airline has announced when its fleet is approved for gadget-enabled flights. Even with the new plans, gadgets must stay in "airplane mode" with the cellular antenna off, though Wi-Fi can be used where available.

Which airlines allow electronic devices?

Here are the airlines that currently permit use of gadgets throughout the flight:

  • Air Wisconsin
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • ExpressJet
  • Hawaiian Airlines
  • Horizon Air
  • JetBlue
  • Southwest Airlines
  • US Airways
  • United Airlines
  • Virgin America

MORE:  15 Holiday and Travel Apps

Which airlines have Wi-Fi?

Of course, not all airlines offer Wi-Fi to make full use of your gadget while travelling. Of those that do, most provide it through the paid Gogo service. Gogo has price options for Wi-Fi by the hour (for example, $2 for 2 hours on Virgin America), by the day (such as $8 per day on Southwest) and by the month ($40) — though not all options will be available on every airline. And one word of caution: Although an airline says it offers Wi-Fi, some planes in these companies' fleets do not have the satellite tech installed for in-flight Wi-Fi. So bring a book to read, just in case.

  • Air Canada - Gogo
  • AirTran - Gogo
  • Alaska Airlines - Gogo
  • Allegiant Air - Row 44
  • American Airlines - Gogo
  • Delta - Gogo
  • Frontier - Gogo
  • JetBlue - Fly-Fi
  • Southwest - Row 44
  • United Airlines - Gogo
  • US Airways - Gogo
  • Virgin America - Gogo

Which airports have Wi-Fi? 

And what about Wi-Fi in Airports? Most airlines have Wi-Fi in their lounges, but you have to be a member of their loyalty club or pay an entry free to get access to these areas. Many airports themselves in the United States and abroad provide Wi-Fi, and often for free. For example Boston Logan Airport offers Wi-Fi gratis, while cities such as Honolulu and Austin charge between $2 and $5 per hour, and $6 to $10 per day.

For details on airports, check travel deal blog AirfareWatchDog's thorough list of airport Wi-Fi services and fees (if any).

Credit: airfarewatchdog, reproduced with permission.

(Image credit: airfarewatchdog, reproduced with permission.)

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Kelly Ohannessian is a freelance writer and editor. With more than 15 years of experience, she works with a focus on covering the creative aspects of the gaming industry. Her articles have appeared on Medium, Fast Company, Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Gamespot, and many more. Currently, she works as a manager at Brooklyn Game Lab.