On October 2015, 2015, I flew to Hong Kong via Chicago on United Airlines flight UA895. The Chicago-Hong Kong flight was 16 hours, and I hoped that Wi-Fi would be available on the plane, at least for part of the flight. I didn’t find much in terms of reviews prior to the flight, so here’s mine.
Available: yes, for about 60% of the flight
Cost: $16.99 for 1 laptop
Signal quality: very variable, mainly OK for emails and light web browsing
Wi-Fi was available for purchase for $16.99 once we reached a bit more than 10,000 feet. United MileagePlus members can log in to their account before purchasing Wi-Fi, which will allow them to transfer the connection to another device (only one device can be used at a time). The Wi-Fi purchase will only be valid on one device and cannot be transferred for those who purchase without logging in to a MileagePlus account.
The connection was initially pretty decent, but came with a warning that the signal may or would not be available:
- while heading north before reaching the North Pole (up to 40 minutes)
- while over the North Pole (up to 3 hours)
- while over Chinese airspace (time not mentioned, but probably 3 hours as well)
The connection indeed got worse and dropped at various points during the flight, which is not necessarily that bad of a thing since it’s good to sleep on at least part of a 16-hour flight!
As usual with in-flight Wi-Fi, video was disabled, but the signal was good enough to download and send emails, read the news, and other light web browsing. I’m pleased with the experience and found the price to be much more reasonable than Delta’s $50 price tag for Wi-Fi on a Detroit-Seoul flight last year.
Note that your experience could be different based on the aircraft you’re on and the flight path on the day of your flight.
Here are some screenshots: