How Does T-Mobile Inflight Wifi Work?

In early June, T-Mobile introduced one hour of free Gogo inflight wifi per flight for T-Mobile customers. On top of that, T-Mobile customers get unlimited in-flight texting for the duration of the flight.

T-Mobile-Wifi

As many of you know, I’m a huge T-Mobile fan. I just made the switch last month, and have been so happy with them, especially thanks to their Simple Choice International Plan. I never thought I’d love my cell phone provider, but T-Mobile has changed that for me.

T-Mobile-Simple-Choice

I figured I’d share my experience using T-Mobile’s free inflight wifi, since I used it for the first time this weekend.

I should note that I have a monthly Gogo unlimited pass. Given how much I fly, it’s worth it to me to always be productive onboard for a fixed monthly cost. So I’m probably not getting as much value out of this as others, but I still find it useful.

I like using the one hour of free mobile wifi so I can briefly use my phone during the flight to check Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.

I assumed using the free inflight wifi might be complicated, but it’s not. It couldn’t be simpler.

When you open up the Gogo webpage in a browser, scroll to the bottom and you’ll see a section labeled “Only for T-Mobile Customers,” where you can click “Check-In.”

T-Mobile-Inflight-Wifi - 1

On the next page you’ll be prompted to enter your cell phone number.

T-Mobile-Inflight-Wifi - 2

Then you’ll be logged on — it’s that simple!

T-Mobile-Inflight-Wifi - 3

The top left of your phone will even say “T-Mobile Wi-Fi.”

T-Mobile-Inflight-Wifi - 4

As a reminder, this feature is only available on mobile devices, so you can’t use your hour of free wifi on your laptop, for example.

One thing I’m not sure of is whether you could in theory use your hour of free wifi on someone else’s phone. Just thinking out loud here, but since there’s not really a log-in process, could anyone with my number who knows I’m a T-Mobile customer log in with my number? I don’t know…

Bottom line

T-Mobile’s hour of free Gogo wifi is super easy to use. For that matter, I find that to be the case with just about every aspect of service with T-Mobile. Kudos to them for being awesome.

For T-Mobile customers, have you used your free Gogo wifi benefit yet?

Comments

  1. How do you use the Gogo inflight wifi with the AMEX Platinum card? And does it work on Delta flights that show Wi-Fi enabled?

  2. Can you set up a mobile hotspot? Since all you need is data, regardless of how its being provided… you could theoretically host multiple people over wifi and switch to another person each hour?

  3. Free 2G is better than nothing but in an era where you have 4G and LTE to offer 2G is plain ridiculous. It is like my internet provider offers me free dial up for home internet.

  4. last weekend during T-mobiles promotion of free gogo for everyone even non-subscribers (I’m on verizon), I couldn’t figure out how to connect my iPad for the promotion. The irony was that I needed the internet to read how to connect to the internet and was already at cruising altitude so couldn’t use 4g.
    If you have cellular data on an iPad with T-mobile will you still get a free hour on your iPad? Most providers seem to consider tablets “mobile devices”.

  5. My whole family is on T-Mobile, so I recently got 3 hours of free Gogo on one fight by simply inputting separate phone numbers. However to get it to work, you may need to have different browsers from which you can log in since the system will remember the browsers previously used to log in during that flight. Run the time out, switch to another browser and then use another phone number.

  6. Thanks to your two posts on your switch to T-Mobile last month, I just today switched to T-Mobile. Going back to Europe next month for work and I can hardly wait to use my phone everywhere, not just in the hotel and lounge. Thanks again Lucky for all your great advice.

  7. I’ve never been able to get the free texting to work on my TMobile phone and had the same problem with the offer.

  8. Hmm… I wonder if you can bluetooth tether to a laptop after you log in on your phone. Anyone try? I’ll give it a go next month

  9. @Santastico: In some countries you’ll get 3G/4G speeds, and if you need guaranteed LTE speeds, you can pay a little extra for it. It’ll still be cheaper than on AT&T or Verizon.

    @Alvin: Generally, no. The phone is already using its WiFi network adapter to connect to GoGo.

    @Lucky: The T-Mobile WiFi indicator just means that you’re connected to the T-Mobile network over WiFi. If you have WiFi calling turned on, you’d see that with most hotspots. And it wouldn’t be too difficult to check that the person using the T-Mobile phone number is, at minimum, actually a T-Mobile customer.

  10. Was able to try it out on a Delta flight last Friday. What I realized was that the free messaging also included online messaging platforms such as WhatsApp. I was able to stay connected even after the 1hr was up.

  11. Although it’s wifi, it still uses your SIM card as an identification mechanism to log onto the network. This mechanism is also called EAP-SIM and is used by many providers to give you automatic access on their wifi networks.

  12. Singapore is ending 2g next year. Will T-mobile be allowing unlimited 3g at that point?

  13. T-Mobile use sim card as authentication method so I don’t think you will be able to use it on your laptop.
    “T-Mobile WiFi” is the indicator that your phone is now in Voice over WiFi mode which essentially mean that you can receive/make a call/text using your T-Mobile number via WiFi even without the Cellular Signal. That’s why you can still text people on the plane even without the Cellular Signal.

  14. You can use it on your laptop as well, just open your chrome, press F12, press CTRL+SHIFT+M to switch to mobile phone view, and then go to http://airborne.gogoinflight.com/gbp/tmoValidate.do – since you are on phone view, the website thinks you are connected using a phone, and will let you put your T-Mobile number and get free hour. In fact, I use it on my phone, then when it expires I use it for another hour on my laptop with the same number.
    Enjoy!

  15. So my entire family (four numbers) is on T-Mobile. I had a cross-country flight, so I settled in for the five+ hours. I used my personal phone first. When my hour was up, I tried logging back in using my wife’s phone number. Didn’t work. So I used my business phone next (which is on AT&T) and then logged in using my wife’s phone number. Great! It worked. When that ran out, I switched to my Surface tablet and used by daughter’s phone number. Finally, when that ran out, I used my work laptop, and my son’s phone number and it worked.

    That works, but what a PITB to have to do that just to get free Wi-Fi.

  16. Am on a AA flight from DFW to London and it’s not Gogo. It’s a different plan for some international flights. I bought the American Airlines plan available for $19 for the flight. The data worked but texting didn’t. If you plan on being available for your business by texts be careful. I made this mistake and it costs me $thousands of missed business while in the air. Ugh.

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