We are so connected to our technology that the idea of unplugging for a few hours while on a flight may be enough to induce a slight panic attack. Never fear. WiFi is available on most flights, though it may cost you depending on the airline you’re flying with. Whether for free or for a fee, you can be back up and running in no time, re-connected to the digital world around you. However, keep in mind it won’t be as fast as you’re used to on the ground – in-flight WiFi has room for improvement.

How Can I Get WiFi on a Plane?

All devices should be switched off or on airplane mode until you get the all-clear from your flight’s crew. Once you’re safely cruising, you can switch on your laptop, tablet, or phone and turn on its full service. From there, access the internet browser.

If WiFi is available, it will take you to a page where you’ll accept the terms and conditions and enter your payment information (if applicable). Once it’s processed, you’ll be directed to a page that says you now have access to the in-flight Wifi. However, not all WiFi is created equal, so in-flight WiFi is often weak, slow, and lagging. If you require fast speeds, purchasing the in-flight may be a bigger headache than it’s worth.

How Much Does In-flight WiFi Cost?

How much the in-slight WiFi costs depends on the airline. Some, like Emirates, offer it complimentary, while others charge a fee, which can be as little as a few euros or more. Some airlines and internet providers will allow you to purchase a monthly unlimited pass, which is great for frequent flyers, while others can get free in-flight WiFi based on your cell phone carrier. The higher the class, the more perks you have, including free in-flight WiFi, so check your perks before purchasing the service on the plane.

Additionally, some airlines will allow you to stream media for free on your personal devices without purchasing additional WiFi. You choose from a selection of movies and can watch them without paying. Other airlines have started to allow texting over WiFi. It’s always best to check with your airline about in-flight amenities before booking. You may be able to get a slight discount if you pre-purchase these features rather than waiting until you’re on the plane.

WiFi isn’t free yet on many flights because it’s a great source of additional revenue, similar to when you purchase beverages and snacks on the plane. It’s also an investment in new technology for the entire fleet of planes, which can be expensive. Many international airlines have started to adopt free WiFi, but not all, so check the amenities before you book.

Is It Worth It to Buy In-Flight WiFi?

WiFi on planes works using satellite internet, connecting things to the receivers on the plane. They have different bandwidths, so the speed will vary from flight to flight. Currently, in-flight WiFi has plenty of room for improvement.

If you want to complete basic tasks and don’t mind lagging, consider purchasing the WiFi. If you need high-speed internet to stream movies, check reviews and with the flight attendants if the WiFi can handle the tasks you hope to accomplish with it.

At the end of the day, it’s up to you if purchasing the in-flight internet is worth the investment. Just make sure to have alternative means of entertainment – and don’t forget the headphones – while you’re in the air to help pass the time if the WiFi goes down or doesn’t work as well as you’d like.