United Airlines will offer passengers complimentary messaging over wi-fi starting on December 17, 2021 and rolling out across the mainline and regional fleet by March 2022.
As of December 17th, there will be a new option when you connect to United’s onboard wi-fi network. If you are just looking to message during your flight, it will now be free. Just choose the new free messaging option on the wi-fi landing page at unitedwifi.com.
Complimentary messaging platforms will include, but not be limited to:
Any IP-based messaging will work, though the transmission of pictures and videos will be prohibited.
This new benefit will be available immediately on much of the mainline and express fleet, but gradually roll out on the Boeing 757-200, 767, and 787-9.
The service will not be available on CRJ200s and E145s, which do not offer wi-fi onboard.
In a memo reviewed by Live and Let’s Fly, United tells employees this move is to further United’s goal to become world’s best airline:
“As we continue our journey to become the world’s best airline, we’re always looking for new ways to improve our customers’ experience while on board.”
United’s biggest problem was not the lack of free messaging, but the lack of stable, fast wi-fi. Thankfully, that seems to be changing. I’ve had much better luck this year with United’s wi-fi and increasingly found it to be dependable and fast. In fact, I type this article onboard a United 787-9 over the Atlantic Ocean where the internet has worked nearly flawlessly throughout the flight.
This move is sure to improve passenger satisfaction scores. Who doesn’t like to stay in touch with friends and family without having to pony up the money (sometimes as high as $9.99/hour) for wi-fi onboard? I will certainly take advantage of this on flights in which I do not need full internet access.
After trialing free messaging in July, United Airlines will now offer free messaging across its fleet (by next March). Look for the “free messaging” link on your next flight and enjoy unlimited use of popular apps like iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger.
Will you take advantage of free messaging on your next United flight?
Matthew is an avid traveler who calls Los Angeles home. Each year he travels more than 200,000 miles by air and has visited more than 135 countries. Working both in the aviation industry and as a travel consultant, Matthew has been featured in major media outlets around the world and uses his Live and Let’s Fly blog to share the latest news in the airline industry, commentary on frequent flyer programs, and detailed reports of his worldwide travel.
Perhaps it’s to cover their deplorable WiFi. I think it works acceptably < 50% of the time.
Couldn’t agree more. Out of my roughly 40 United flights this year, I’ve had satisfactory wifi fewer than 10 times. In my experience, United wifi has been consistently bad for a decade, despite their recent claims of overhauling their system. On my most recent flight, I achieved speeds of up to 15mbps, but it frequently dropped signal completely. Beyond filling out the feedback surveys, I think we just need to accept it.
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How do we know which planes get the inflight messaging for free?
Flight attendants will include it in the their announcement if your particular aircraft is covered.
UA wifi works, but it’s a bit slow. Kind of a slap in the face to pay $29 on a domestic trans con and get just OK speeds.
I can’t count the number of times that the IFE system (including WiFi) has been down, but it’s been a lot. So, not being able to connect is not OK speeds, it is literally (zero)K.
Delta welcomes United to 2018! Can’t wait to see what other big innovations United adds three years behind the competition (:
Tell it Jim!
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