We've all been there. You know that special type of excitement you feel only when you're getting on a plane, whether you're traveling for a fun, family vacation or a business meeting halfway around the world.
A lot of the anticipation is about the Wi-Fi. You can sit back and finally relax, watching movies and TV shows with your kids and grandchildren.
You can catch up on work emails. You can knock out a few business letters and even a presentation that you've been meaning to finish for months.
Yet, you also know that super-frustrating feeling when you remember that in-flight Wi-Fi is really expensive and the connection is often terrible. It can be spotty and slow, so you never watch the movies you daydreamed about or complete the work you wanted to get caught up on.
Don't let this happen to you. Fortunately, we've got a few simple tips to save you a lot of money and ensure that your in-flight Wi-Fi is faster than ever before.
Save money on in-flight Wi-Fi
It's shocking how much Wi-Fi costs when you're in the air. Heck, you're in for a real disappointment if you think it'll be free or cost only a few dollars.
In-flight Wi-Fi can cost you $16 or so for a day pass or $40 or more for a monthly pass, if you pay for it when you're already in the air. That's where the airlines get you, when you and your family are staring at blank screens with several hours of flight time in front of you -- yikes!
Here's how to save money. The key is to pay for your in-flight Wi-Fi before your travel, with several options to do that.
First, ask you cellphone provider if they offer discounts on in-flight Wi-Fi. T-Mobile, for example, offers one free hour on the in-flight Wi-Fi service Gogo.
You can also get free texting and send photos on messaging apps. You can access voicemail and you get an hour of free data, although there are some limitations on which airlines offer this free service and which T-Mobile plan you have.
Check with your cellphone company before you leave for your destination. Ask them for help to set up your free Wi-Fi ahead of time, so you're all set once you're on the plane.
Second, pay for your Wi-Fi before you leave for the airport. You can save 50 percent or more by going to sites like Gogo or your airline may offer a substantial discount when you're buying your ticket online.
Third, if you're a frequent flyer, ask your airline about its Wi-Fi subscription plans. You can save money that way and you don't have to worry about paying for it each time you buy a ticket or board a plane.
Bonus: Check with your credit card companies to see if they offer free in-flight Wi-Fi with Gogo, Boingo or any other service. You can also check on the LendEDU website for credit cards that offer free in-flight Wi-Fi.
Get faster and stabler Wi-Fi
One of the most frustrating things about Wi-Fi, whether you're in a coffee shop or 30,000 feet in the air, is a slow connection. Worse, it can be so annoying when your Wi-Fi keeps disconnecting -- it's hard to watch a movie or finish a work project that way.
Here are a few tips you'll love the next time you're flying. These tips will help to make your in-flight Wi-Fi faster.
You can speed things up a few ways. Start by turning off any programs you don't need, especially ones running in the background.
On Windows 10, for example, you can type Task Manager into your task bar, where it says "Type here to search." You'll see all the programs in a pop-up box that are running and you can turn some of them off.
You should also clear your cache, which can slow down your internet speed. Here's how to do that on Google's web browser, Chrome.
- Open Chrome
- Click on the orange circle with an exclamation point on the upper-right side of your screen
- More tools
- Clear browsing data. Make sure each entry you want to clear, including cached images and files, has a check mark next to it
- Clear data.
It's also a good idea to bookmark your airline's Wi-Fi home page. That way you'll save yourself the hassle of trying to get to it on your next flight.
Bonus: Do you know you can download Netflix movies, run programs like Gmail and read web pages offline that you've saved to apps like Pocket? That way you can enjoy the internet without worrying about disconnecting or a slow connection.
Stay safe in the air
You've heard so much about data breaches, online hacks and ransomware attacks that you know you have to protect your ID and your money online. Of course, these attacks can't be prevented on an individual level, but you can keep your browsing data safe with a virtual private network (VPN).
This is serious stuff, as you've heard many times. But we have tips to help you stay safe, especially when you're using public Wi-Fi, including in flight.
Here's a simple way to stay safe. Use a private search engine like DuckDuckGovirtual or a virtual private network (VPN), which, simply put, hides your device and your online activity from hackers.
Get free Wi-Fi wherever you go
It always happens when you're traveling. When you're in a city far away from home, hopping online isn't as easy or reliable as it should be. Of course, there are Wi-Fi hotspots everywhere, but if you're in a rush you don't have time to guess. Thankfully, there are apps that can help you out. Tap or click here to find out how to benefit from free Wi-Fi.