United’s Monthly Wi-Fi Subscriptions – When to Buy

United is now selling monthly inflight Wi-Fi subscriptions. Should you buy?

On American, a monthly subscription for Gogo Wi-Fi flights within the U.S., Canada, and Mexico can be had for $49.95. Delta’s monthly North America Wi-Fi pass is the same price, and $599.99 for a full year’s subscription.

Here are United’s newly published monthly and annual subscription rates:

  • $49 monthly for unlimited service in N. and Central America
  • $69 monthly for unlimited service worldwide
  • $539 yearly for unlimited service in N. and Central America
  • $689 yearly for unlimited service worldwide

United’s prices for buy-on-board Wi-Fi vary by flight, so it’s impossible to establish a definitive breakeven point, when the monthly pass becomes a better deal than purchasing on a flight-by-flight basis. But if per-flight prices average $10 to $15, then you’d have to fly four or five times a month before the monthly pass is cheaper than buying Wi-Fi one flight at a time. Unless you’re a business traveler, that’s a pretty high hurdle.

Among the noteworthy terms and conditions, a subscription only covers one device at a time. If you want to hook up your laptop and smartphone simultaneously, you’ll need a second subscription.

The subscriptions are non-refundable. So there will be no discount or other consideration if the Wi-Fi is poor quality or non-existent.

The subscriptions are non-transferable. So no, you may not lend your credentials to friends or family members when they fly United.

Reader Reality Check

Good deal or bad deal: $49 a month for unlimited North America Wi-Fi on United?

After 20 years working in the travel industry, and almost that long writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.

This article first appeared on SmarterTravel.com, where Tim is Editor-at-Large.

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