Wi-Fi frequently asked questions
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.
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®, 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
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®, 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.
No, United does not provide wireless-enabled devices at this time.
Typically, United Wi-Fi internet service is available on board Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft starting at cruising altitude. United Wi-Fi internet 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 all 737 and 757 aircraft equipped with DIRECTV®, United Wi-Fi internet service is available from takeoff to landing, as long as the flight crew has not announced that personal electronic devices must be temporarily stowed.
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 with miles or a credit card, including a stored card. 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.
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.
- Make sure that your wireless device is in airplane mode.
- View available wireless networks and select "United_Wi-Fi."
- Launch your internet browser. If you are not automatically redirected to the United Wi-Fi Portal, type "unitedwifi.com" in the browser's address bar.
- Purchase an internet access plan, and enjoy.
All mainline aircraft in our fleet have Wi-Fi internet, except for those traveling to and from Guam. All two-cabin regional jets also have Wi-Fi internet.
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
Pricing for internet access will vary. On board most aircraft equipped with United Wi-Fi, pricing for internet access is determined and charged by flight segment (from takeoff to landing).
We've launched a newly designed portal with multiple payment options. With this new portal, on select aircraft, you will have additional internet access options, such as time-based plans (example: 30 minutes, 1 hour) or full flight access, as well as the ability to purchase internet with your MileagePlus award miles or a saved credit card in your MileagePlus account. Please be sure to have your MileagePlus number and password in order to sign in to your account.
You can also purchase a Wi-Fi subscription on united.com, allowing you access to the internet for a month or year on United and United Express flights equipped with Wi-Fi.
To determine your aircraft type, you can check the Flight Status & Information page for an upcoming flight or refer to the safety card on board.
United currently offers a monthly Wi-Fi subscription, as well as an annual subscription. We currently don't offer daily or weekly Wi-Fi passes, but we may offer these options in the future.
The Wi-Fi internet access on some premium transcontinental flights, available on select transcontinental routes, is provided and managed by Gogo. The Wi-Fi internet access on all other aircraft, including some premium transcontinental routes, is managed by United. We do not have the ability to transfer purchases between providers.
United manages the Wi-Fi internet service on all its flights, except for some premium transcontinental flights that are managed by Gogo. It is not affiliated with Boingo.
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. You can also save your preferred credit card to your MileagePlus® account to use as a form of inflight payment.
Note: When using a debit card, the purchase will be processed as a credit card transaction.
Additionally, on select aircraft, you can use your award miles to purchase Wi-Fi internet service. Please be sure to have your MileagePlus number and password in order to log into your account.
On all mainline aircraft, you can use MileagePlus miles to purchase Wi-Fi internet. This feature is not available on aircraft equipped with Gogo internet, including two-cabin regional aircraft and on 757 premium transcontinental flights.
A receipt for your Wi-Fi internet purchase will be sent to the email address that you use to initially sign in to the Portal.
Your payment for Wi-Fi service will appear on your credit card statement as "Inflight Wi-Fi" or "Inflight Wi-Fi – LiveTV."
Miles will be removed from your account immediately after you log in and complete your purchase.
Your payment for Wi-Fi Internet service will appear on your MileagePlus account statement as "Wi-Fi Redemption."
Features and restrictions
Many international flights offer Wi-Fi Internet.
International coverage is available on the following aircraft: All Airbus 319/320s, 767s, 777s, 787s and select 757 aircraft. All 737 aircraft, premium transcontinental 757 aircraft and 757 aircraft equipped with DIRECTV do not offer international coverage.
Our new 737 MAX 9s equipped with Viasat internet are currently entering service and do not have Wi-Fi internet capabilities for international flights, but will begin offering Wi-Fi service on international flights by the end of 2018.
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.
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.
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.
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 Amazon Appstore (Kindle).
Although you are allowed to use your cell phone in airplane mode for activities such as surfing the internet and sending email, we do not allow the use of our onboard internet service for voice communication or videoconferencing through a cell phone, VoIP or any similar service. Voice and video calls are not permitted. By purchasing an internet plan and accessing our service on board, you agree not to make voice or video calls, including but not limited to VoIP, in flight.
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 internet.
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.
We may block Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), but all other ports remain open.
Customers will be able to stream videos on board 737 MAX 9 aircraft and select 757-200 aircraft with premium transcontinental service through our ViaSat Wi-Fi service provider.
Live video and internet streaming services are not permitted on our other aircraft. Streaming video from a website requires extensive bandwidth and will not work as well on a plane as it does on the ground.
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.
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.
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, except on board 737 MAX 9 aircraft through our ViaSat Wi-Fi service provider.
No, if there is a temporary interruption in service, your access will be paused and will resume when the signal becomes available again.
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?
- Go to Settings and enable Airplane Mode.
- Tap "Wi-Fi" and then enable Wi-Fi, and connect to the "United_Wi-Fi" network.
- Hit the Home button and open your browser.
How do I connect to United Wi-Fi with my Android device?
- Go to Settings and select “Wireless & Networks.”
- Enable Airplane Mode and then turn on the Wi-Fi connection.
- Select Wi-Fi Settings and then select the “United_Wi-Fi” network.
- Open your internet browser.
How do I connect to United Wi-Fi with my BlackBerry device?
- Go to Manage Connections and disable your mobile network connection.
- Enable the Wi-Fi, select “Set up Wi-Fi” and then scan for networks.
- Connect to the “United_Wi-Fi” network, and then open your browser.
- Select “Wi-Fi Hotspot Login.”
- Open your browser, hit the BlackBerry key and select “Options.”
- Select Browser Configuration and select “BlackBerry” in the Browser ID dropdown.
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.
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.
- On the Web browser menu, click on the "Customize and control Google Chrome" and select "Settings."
- In the "Settings" section, click on "Show advanced settings..."
- Under "Privacy," click on the "Content settings..."
- Click on the "OK" button to close the window.
- Close the Settings tab.
- Click on the "Reload this page" button of the Web browser to refresh the page.
- On Web browser menu, click "Tools" menu and select "Internet Options."
- In the Internet Options window, select the "Security" tab.
- Click on the "Custom level..." button.
- When the "Security Settings - Internet Zone" dialog window opens, look for the "Scripting" section.
- In the "Active Scripting" item, select "Enable."
- When the "Warning!" window pops out asking "Are you sure you want to change the settings for this zone?" select "Yes."
- Click on the "OK” button to close the “Internet Options” window.
- Click on the "Refresh" button of the Web browser to refresh the page.
- On the Web browser, click "Firefox" menu and then select "Options."
- In the Options window, select the "Content" tab.
- Click on the "OK" button to close the Options window.
- Click on the "Reload current page" button of the Web browser to refresh the page.
Opera – version 9 or earlier
Opera – version 10 or later
- On the Web browser menu, click "Tools" and select "Preferences."
- In the Preferences window, select the "Advanced" tab.
- On the "Advanced" tab, click on "Content" menu item.
- In the opened Preferences window, click on the "OK" button to close it.
- Click on the "Reload" button of the Web browser to refresh the page.
- On the Web browser menu, click on the "Edit" and select "Preferences."
- In the "Preferences" window, select the "Security" tab.
- Click on the "Reload the current page" button of the Web browser to refresh the page.
- Click on the "apps" option on your phone and select the "Browser" option.
- Click the menu button in the browser and select "Settings" towards the bottom of the menu screen.
- Select "Advanced" from the Settings screen.
- Launch your BlackBerry’s Web browser. Press your phone’s “Menu” button while in an active browser window.
- Click “Options” from the menu screen. Select “Browser Configuration” from the Blackberry’s browser options menu.
- Go to the Home screen by pressing the Home button or by unlocking your phone.
- Press the “Settings” button.
- Select “Safari” from the “Setting” menu.
- Press the “Home” button to return the iPhone home screen.
Windows Mobile – version 5 or earlier
- Tap "Start" and locate the Opera Mini Web browser's icon in the "Apps" folder. Select this icon to launch the program.
- 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."
- 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
- 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.
- Open your Web browser and navigate to the Java website. Click on the link "Free Java Download."
- 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.
- Wait as Windows finishes the download process. Do not disconnect or press any button during this process.
- Tap "OK" when the installation is complete. Disconnect the phone.