Skip Navigation LinksHome > Travel information > Inflight services > Inflight connectivity and power > Inflight Wi-Fi > Wi-Fi frequently asked questions

Wi-Fi frequently asked questions

The basics

What is Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is the most commonly used local wireless data network standard that allows electronic devices to exchange data. Essentially, it allows you to connect a Web-enabled device to the Internet wirelessly.

What kind of device is required to use United Wi-Fi?

All you need is a Wi-Fi-enabled device (802.11a/g or n) with an Internet browser. Please note that cellular devices without a Wi-Fi component will not work with this system, and their use is restricted to "game mode" or "airplane mode" per U.S. Federal Regulations. Inflight Wi-Fi works with most laptops, tablets and smartphones, and United Wi-Fi supports Android®, Apple®, BlackBerry®, Nokia® (Symbian S60), Kindle® and Windows® platforms.

For best results, we recommend using the following operating systems and/or browsers:

  • Google® Chrome™
  • Internet Explorer® 7+
  • Mozilla® Firefox®
  • Safari® on Mac OS® X

Please note that devices that are not JavaScript-enabled cannot be used to purchase Internet access, but they can be used to access the complimentary features of the United Wi-Fi Portal. Cookies should also be enabled on your device in order to purchase Internet access.

How do I know if my device is Wi-Fi-enabled?

Many devices are Wi-Fi-certified and carry the Wi-Fi logo from the Wi-Fi Alliance. United Wi-Fi works with most laptops and smartphones, and United Wi-Fi supports Android®, Apple®, BlackBerry®, Nokia® (Symbian S60), Kindle® and Windows platforms.

To determine if your device is Wi-Fi-enabled, you may open the device's connection manager – which is an application used to modify the device’s network connections – and see if there is a reference to WLAN (wireless local area network), Wi-Fi or 802.11. Typically the connection manager is located in a settings or applications folder.

Are there wireless-enabled devices available to borrow onboard?

No, United does not provide wireless-enabled devices at this time.

When can I use United Wi-Fi?

Typically, United Wi-Fi service is available on board Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft starting at cruising altitude. United Wi-Fi will automatically disconnect when the cabin is prepared for landing as the aircraft descends below 10,000 feet, so please save your work regularly.

On aircraft equipped with DIRECTV®, United Wi-Fi service is available from takeoff to landing, as long as the flight crew has not announced that personal electronic devices must be temporarily stowed.

How can I use the United Wi-Fi service?

United Wi-Fi features a portal that offers flight information, destination weather reports and free access to united.com, as well as the ability to purchase Internet access. If you purchase Internet access, you can check email, use previously downloaded apps or browse the Internet. As is common on many other public wireless networks, we will attempt to filter inappropriate content.

How do I connect to the United Wi-Fi network?

The basic steps below apply to most wireless devices. Please follow these steps, also making sure to follow flight crew instructions for usage and stowing of portable electronic devices.

  1. Before the flight leaves the gate, make sure that your wireless device is in airplane mode.
  2. To connect to United Wi-Fi on your device, view available wireless networks and select "United_Wi-Fi.”
  3. Launch your Internet browser. If you are not automatically redirected to the United Wi-Fi Portal, type “www.unitedwifi.com” in the browser’s address bar.
  4. Purchase an Internet access plan, and enjoy.
How many aircraft have Wi-Fi and where do they fly?

Since 2009, we’ve had Wi-Fi on our p.s.® aircraft, a fleet of three-cabin Boeing 757s flying between New York JFK and Los Angeles or San Francisco. This service is managed by the inflight Internet provider Gogo. Wi-Fi installations on non-p.s. flights began in August 2012. This service is managed by United, and we will upgrade our fleet with this technology on an ongoing basis. We will continue to update our progress on installation on united.com/wifi.

How will I know if I am going to be on an aircraft equipped with United Wi-Fi?

If an aircraft is equipped with United Wi-Fi, you will see the Wi-Fi icon on the plane, to the right of the door, when you enter the aircraft. Aircraft with United Wi-Fi will feature seatback cards with instructions for connecting. You may also view whether or not an aircraft has Wi-Fi by viewing the Amenities section of your flight status on united.com, the United app or the information screen at the departure gate.

Internet purchase process

How is the cost of Internet service calculated and what does it include?

Pricing for Internet access will vary. On most aircraft equipped with United Wi-Fi, pricing for Internet access is determined and charged by flight segment (from takeoff to landing). On aircraft equipped with DIRECTV, pricing for Internet access is a fixed per-hour rate, with access and charges starting at the time of purchase and ending when you disconnect.

Does United offer a daily, weekly or monthly Wi-Fi pass?

We currently don’t offer daily, weekly or monthly Wi-Fi passes, but we may offer these options in the future.

Do I need JavaScript and cookies enabled on my device in order to purchase Internet access?

Yes. The Internet purchase process uses JavaScript to ensure that your payment is secure. If your device does not support JavaScript, you will not be able to purchase Internet access using that device. If your device has JavaScript disabled, be sure to enable JavaScript before purchasing Internet access. Learn how to enable JavaScript on some common devices. Cookies should also be enabled on your device. Cookies are small bits of information that are stored on your computer by your Web browser.

Why can’t I use my Gogo account on United Wi-Fi even though I use it on p.s. Premium Service flights?

The Wi-Fi Internet access on our p.s. flights between New York JFK and Los Angeles or San Francisco is provided and managed by Gogo. The Wi-Fi Internet access on all other aircraft is managed by United. We do not have the ability to transfer purchases between providers.

Why can’t I use my Boingo membership as I do with Gogo on p.s. flights?

United manages the Wi-Fi Internet service on non-p.s. flights. It is not affiliated with Boingo.

What credit cards does United accept as payment for United Wi-Fi?

United currently accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards. We also accept debit cards displaying the Visa or MasterCard logo. All charges are billed in U.S. dollars.

Note: When using a debit card, the purchase will be processed as a credit card transaction.

How can I get a receipt for my Internet purchase?

A receipt for your Wi-Fi purchase will be sent to the email address that you use to initially sign in to the Portal.

How will the United Wi-Fi charge show up on my credit card statement?

Your payment for Wi-Fi service will appear on your credit card statement as "Inflight Wi-Fi" or “Inflight Wi-Fi – LiveTV.”

Features and restrictions

Can I use United Wi-Fi on international flights?

Many international flights will offer Wi-Fi. On aircraft equipped with DIRECTV, however, Wi-Fi access is limited to the continental United States.

Can I switch Internet access between devices or use Internet on multiple devices simultaneously?

You can only access the Internet through United Wi-Fi on one wireless device at a time, unless you purchase access twice using separate credentials. On most aircraft equipped with United Wi-Fi, you may switch your Internet access from one device to another if you have signed in with a MileagePlus account. To switch devices, open a browser on your second device and select "Switch Internet access to a new device.” You will then need to sign in with the same MileagePlus account information on the second device in order to connect. Your previous device will disconnect automatically. Keep in mind that you will only be able to switch devices if you initially purchased Internet access through your MileagePlus account. Guest access is not transferable between devices.

On aircraft equipped with DIRECTV, you may switch your Internet access between two devices by signing in to the second device using the same credentials as those used for the original device. Once you’ve signed in to the second device, sign off of the original device by clicking “Continue” when prompted.

Can I use the United mobile app on board a United Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft?

Yes, the United app can be used on board to purchase tickets, view flight status and more. You must download the app prior to boarding the flight.

How do I access the United app on board a United Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft?

Ensure that your device is connected to the network by selecting “United_Wi-Fi” from the list of available wireless networks on your device. Once connected, launch the United app.

Can I download the United mobile app while onboard?

No, you will need to download the United app prior to boarding the flight. It is available from the App Store (Apple), Google Play (Android), the Windows Store (Windows) and BlackBerry World (BlackBerry).

Can I use my cell phone or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service for voice communications while inflight?

Although you are allowed to use your cell phone in airplane mode for activities such as surfing the Internet and sending email, we don't allow passengers to use the system for voice communication through a cell phone, VoIP or any similar service.

Can I send and receive text messages (SMS messages) with United Wi-Fi?

You cannot send and receive Short Message Service (SMS) text messages at this time, as we do not offer a Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) option. However, if you have a device that supports Wi-Fi-based texting, you will be able to send and receive texts over Wi-Fi with the purchase of United Wi-Fi access.

Can I participate in a videoconference while inflight?

It is against United policy to allow videoconferencing or voice communications in flight. Live video and Internet streaming services are not supported.

Do you allow Virtual Private Network (VPN) connections?

Yes, you can access your corporate network if you have access to a VPN client and a firewall. However, we cannot guarantee that the VPN will not be dropped if there are brief, intermittent losses in connectivity. As with any wireless communication, VPNs are not inherently secure. Therefore, United recommends that you take appropriate measures to ensure the security of your wireless connections.

Do you block any ports that I may use (SMTP, telnet, RDP, Peer-to-Peer)?

We may block Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), but all other ports remain open.

Why can't I use Netflix or other streaming video websites?

Live video and Internet streaming services are not supported. Streaming video from a website requires extensive bandwidth and will not work as well on a plane as it does on the ground.

How much data can I download and upload?

Usage is unlimited, but we may throttle and or block usage to the extent that we need to in order to ensure that everyone who is connected to our network will have a good experience.

Is there a time limit for Wi-Fi on a flight?

On most aircraft equipped with United Wi-Fi, pricing for Internet access is determined and charged by flight segment (from takeoff to landing). If you purchase Internet access, you will be able to use Internet for the entire time that use of personal electronic devices is permitted during the flight, as long as there’s a satellite connection. On aircraft equipped with DIRECTV, pricing for Internet access is a fixed per-hour rate, with access and charges starting at the time of purchase and ending when you disconnect.

Does United Wi-Fi restrict what content I may view?

United does not allow customers to access certain websites that may be inappropriate or unsuitable for inflight viewing. We also do not support live video and Internet-based streaming services.

Will I have to re-purchase Internet access if the service temporarily disconnects?

No, if there is a temporary interruption in service, your access will be paused and will resume when the signal becomes available again. On aircraft equipped with DIRECTV, the per-hour rate will not be applied while service is paused.

Where can I find the United Wi-Fi Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy?

The United Wi-Fi Terms and Conditions, as well as Privacy Policy, are posted on the United Wi-Fi Portal.

Troubleshooting

What should I do if I have trouble connecting to United Wi-Fi?

First, you should confirm that the aircraft and your device are Wi-Fi-enabled, and then try disconnecting and connecting again. If connection problems persist, we advise contacting your device manufacturer or your company's network administrator for continued support after the flight. Please note that the flight crew is not trained to provide technical support for the Wi-Fi system. Below is a general how-to for the most commonly used devices. This information can also be found in the FAQ section of the United Wi-Fi Portal on board Wi-Fi-equipped flights.

How do I connect to United Wi-Fi with my iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad?
  1. Go to Settings and enable Airplane Mode.
  2. Tap "Wi-Fi" and then enable Wi-Fi, and connect to the "United_Wi-Fi" network.
  3. Hit the Home button and open your browser.
How do I connect to United Wi-Fi with my Android device?
  1. Go to Settings and select “Wireless & Networks.”
  2. Enable Airplane Mode and then turn on the Wi-Fi connection.
  3. Select Wi-Fi Settings and then select the “United_Wi-Fi” network.
  4. Open your Internet browser.
How do I connect to United Wi-Fi with my BlackBerry device?
  1. Go to Manage Connections and disable Mobile and Bluetooth.
  2. Enable the Wi-Fi, select “Set up Wi-Fi” and then scan for networks.
  3. Connect to the “United_Wi-Fi” network, and then open your browser.
  4. Select “Wi-Fi Hotspot Login.”
What should I do if my BlackBerry browser ID is set to emulate Firefox or Internet Explorer, so I can't use United Wi-Fi?
  1. Open your browser, hit the BlackBerry key and select “Options.”
  2. Select Browser Configuration and select “BlackBerry” in the Browser ID dropdown.
I was locked out of my MileagePlus account while trying to sign up for Internet access as a MileagePlus member. What can I do?

After six incorrect sign-in attempts, your MileagePlus account is locked to ensure that we maintain the security of your account. We recommend that you purchase Internet access for this flight as a guest, and contact the MileagePlus Service Center after your flight to have your account unlocked.

What should I do if I lose my connection while browsing the Internet?

Although we don't anticipate that this will happen often, if you become disconnected, simply re-launch your browser to continue Web browsing. VPN users may need to sign in to their VPN sessions again.

How do I enable JavaScript on my device?

Below are general instructions for enabling JavaScript on a variety of browsers and devices. Updates to your browser or device may affect your JavaScript settings. Please check directly with the manufacturer of your browser or device to determine how to best enable JavaScript.

To enable JavaScript on a laptop (Mac or PC):

Google Chrome
  1. On the Web browser menu, click on the "Customize and control Google Chrome" and select "Settings."
  2. In the "Settings" section, click on "Show advanced settings..."
  3. Under "Privacy," click on the "Content settings..."
  4. When the dialog window opens, look for the JavaScript section and select "Allow all sites to run JavaScript (recommended)."
  5. Click on the "OK" button to close the window.
  6. Close the Settings tab.
  7. Click on the "Reload this page" button of the Web browser to refresh the page.
Internet Explorer
  1. On Web browser menu, click "Tools" menu and select "Internet Options."
  2. In the Internet Options window, select the "Security" tab.
  3. Click on the "Custom level..." button.
  4. When the "Security Settings - Internet Zone" dialog window opens, look for the "Scripting" section.
  5. In the "Active Scripting" item, select "Enable."
  6. When the "Warning!" window pops out asking "Are you sure you want to change the settings for this zone?" select "Yes."
  7. Click on the "OK” button to close the “Internet Options” window.
  8. Click on the "Refresh" button of the Web browser to refresh the page.
Mozilla Firefox
  1. On the Web browser, click "Firefox" menu and then select "Options."
  2. In the Options window, select the "Content" tab.
  3. Mark the "Enable JavaScript" checkbox.
  4. Click on the "OK" button to close the Options window.
  5. Click on the "Reload current page" button of the Web browser to refresh the page.
Opera – version 9 or earlier
  1. Click on "Menu,” hover your mouse over “Settings,” then hover your mouse on the "Quick preferences" and mark the "Enable JavaScript" checkbox.
  2. If "Menu bar" is shown, click on the "Tools," hover your mouse on the "Quick preferences" and mark the "Enable JavaScript" checkbox.
Opera – version 10 or later
  1. On the Web browser menu, click "Tools" and select "Preferences."
  2. In the Preferences window, select the "Advanced" tab.
  3. On the "Advanced" tab, click on "Content" menu item.
  4. Mark the "Enable JavaScript" checkbox.
  5. In the opened Preferences window, click on the "OK" button to close it.
  6. Click on the "Reload" button of the Web browser to refresh the page.
Safari
  1. On the Web browser menu, click on the "Edit" and select "Preferences."
  2. In the "Preferences" window, select the "Security" tab.
  3. In the "Security" tab section "Web content," mark the "Enable JavaScript" checkbox.
  4. Click on the "Reload the current page" button of the Web browser to refresh the page.

To enable JavaScript on a smartphone:

Android
  1. Click on the "apps" option on your phone and select the "Browser" option.
  2. Click the menu button in the browser and select "Settings" towards the bottom of the menu screen.
  3. Select "Advanced" from the Settings screen.
  4. Check the box next to "Enable Javascript" to turn the option on.
BlackBerry
  1. Launch your BlackBerry’s Web browser. Press your phone’s “Menu” button while in an active browser window.
  2. Click “Options” from the menu screen. Select “Browser Configuration” from the Blackberry’s browser options menu.
  3. Choose “Support JavaScript” and select the “Enable” option. Choose “Allow JavaScript Popups” and select the “Enable” option.
  4. Press the “Menu” key and click “Save Options” to store your JavaScript settings.
iPhone
  1. Go to the Home screen by pressing the Home button or by unlocking your phone.
  2. Press the “Settings” button.
  3. Select “Safari” from the Settings” menu.
  4. Turn on JavaScript by touching the JavaScript toggle.
  5. Press the “Home” button to return the iPhone home screen.
  6. Select the Safari icon to return to Safari. If JavaScript is enabled, the dialer registration and login will not generate an enable JavaScript warning.
Windows Mobile – version 5 or earlier
  1. Tap "Start" and locate the Opera Mini Web browser's icon in the "Apps" folder. Select this icon to launch the program.
  2. Tap "Menu" in the lower right-hand corner of the Web browser window. Select "Settings" from the list of options that appears, then choose "Advanced."
  3. Tap the square beside "Enable JavaScript" to place a check mark in the box.
  4. Confirm and save your settings by tapping the check mark in the lower left-hand corner of the Settings screen.
Windows Mobile – version 6 or later
  1. Connect your smartphone to your computer using a USB cable. Wait for Windows to recognize the device. You will see a notification at the notification area on your taskbar next to the clock.
  2. Open your Web browser and navigate to the Java website. Click on the link "Free Java Download."
  3. Click on "Run" instead of "Save" when the download dialog box appears. This step ensures that Java is installed both on your computer and the smartphone connected to it. You will see a download/sync sign on your smartphone screen.
  4. Wait as Windows finishes the download process. Do not disconnect or press any button during this process.
  5. Tap "OK" when the installation is complete. Disconnect the phone.