Hello, Live From The Fastest Inflight Wifi I’ve Ever Experienced!

Some people are surprised to learn that I’m actually extremely technologically illiterate, despite the fact that I work online. I rely on fast wifi while traveling in order to work, though I couldn’t tell you the difference between types of wifi offered on various airlines, etc. I do know the difference between broadband and dial-up, though. That counts for something, right?

Anyway, inflight wifi has transformed my life, in the sense that it allows me to stay productive while traveling. I review airlines and write online for a living, so an airplane with wifi feels like my office more than anywhere else.

Now, wifi quality and pricing varies greatly across airlines. Some airlines, like Emirates, give you virtually unlimited wifi for $1, though it’s almost unusably slow. Then there are airlines like Etihad and Lufthansa, which have reasonably fast wifi, and let you buy wifi for a fixed cost with no data caps, which I love. On the other end of the spectrum you have airlines like Singapore, which quite literally charge you a fortune to use their wifi.

Etihad-A380-First-Class - 49

Anyway, I’m presently in JetBlue Mint from New York to San Francisco, and wanted to chime in on my wifi experience. As some of you may remember, I flew JetBlue Mint a few weeks back and was blown away. However, it was a late night flight on the tail end of a long trip, so I wasn’t really trying to work productively on the flight, so didn’t really have a chance to try the airline’s inflight wifi.

Now I’m taking an early morning New York to San Francisco flight, which is perhaps the ideal flight for testing an airline’s wifi. I suspect a tech flight like this would probably represent the slowest wifi you’d get on JetBlue, given how many people are connected.

I can’t even begin to say how impressed I am with JetBlue’s wifi. I knew they were better than the competition, but didn’t realize they were this good.

JetBlue’s wifi service is called Fly-Fi, and they offer free wifi for all passengers. There’s also the option to purchase Fly-Fi+ for $9 per hour, which is significantly faster.

JetBlue-Wifi

Since I’m trying to be as productive as possible, I decided to purchase Fly-Fi+ for four hours of the flight, which costs $36.

JetBlue-Wifi-1

The cool thing is that you can actually connect and disconnect throughout your session, so you’re not paying for four consecutive hours, but rather for four hours of use on a given flight.

JetBlue-Wifi-3

Wow, is the wifi fast! As I said above, I’m not a techie so I won’t even bother doing an upload or download speed test (since I don’t know what those numbers mean), but I’ve been able to work seamlessly. YouTube cat videos load without having to wait, and I’m able to upload pictures to the blog almost as fast as in a hotel.

Is it super high speed? No. But it’s fast enough so that I’d even be perfectly happy with it on the ground.

Inflight-wifi

Bottom line

It’s amazing how JetBlue manages to offer everyone free wifi, and then has a reasonably priced buy-up option for those who want high speed internet. Meanwhile on American I pay an outrageous amount for Gogo, and in reality I usually spend about half my time waiting for pages to load. I wouldn’t even dare watch a video on YouTube or try to upload pictures on such a flight.

This is just another way in which JetBlue rocks, because this fast wifi isn’t limited to their transcon planes, but rather is found throughout most of their Airbus fleet.

Comments

  1. I just flew LAX-JFK and I completely agree with the wi-fi speeds. JetBlue beats competitors hands down for any kind of domestic service, and I am consider renewing Mosaic with them instead of with the legacy airlines.

  2. Even the free WiFi is pretty fast. Doubt you could stream Netflix, but for other stuff, it’s great. And who can beat free?

  3. I frequently fly JetBlue between O’Hare and Logan and even having such an amazing wifi on a short domestic service in their Embraers is just amazing!

  4. Completely agree. Just last weekend I flew out on Delta, where Gogo was almost unusable at times because it was so slow… and flew back on Jetblue, where I used the free wi-fi tier, and it was SO MUCH faster than Gogo.

  5. I flew JetBlue Mint back in July and I had no problem streaming 1080p video for almost the entire flight. I also just used the standard wifi I didn’t pay for the premium because it was just plain unnecessary with the speeds I was already getting.

  6. For those asking about speedtest, it’s usually between 13Mbps – 20Mbps. Upload is much slower, however, at under 1Mbps.

    One thing that I’ve noticed is that the free Fly-Fi will actually give you burst speeds at the same speed, however it throttles it down after a few seconds, so usually around halfway through a video or NetFlix it’ll throttle it. So if you’re just browsing around, you won’t notice much of a speed difference. They also disable the throttling for Amazon Prime video.

    If you use excessive data (basically you have to be downloading LARGE files for it to trigger) on the free plan, they’ll slow you down for a bit, but the speed will resume once you knock it off.

    FlyFi + doesn’t throttle, and it’s good enough to stream Netflix. (I once splurged for it out of curiosity and got through half of Orange is the New Black on a transcon.)

    Overall a pretty great system.

  7. As a side note, I’ve been on that plane (I was Mint for Lovin’ Blue!) many times, and since you’re either in Suite 2F or 4F, I’ve been in the same seat!

  8. Actually if you have Amazon prime account you can stream prime movies and tv shows on flyfi + for free, in HD and not have to pay the 9$ per hour.

  9. Haha give him a break he’s a legacy guy like me. I switched after AA screwed up my family trip and their award chart devaluation. You can find Mint JFK transcons for cheaper than AA Saver F without the blackout dates. The rows with single suites are the same to me as AA A321-T that I am used to flying on. Since I no longer fly as much and earn through my company spend at 1 point / mile per dollar Jetblue gets my business. Not to mention the wifi blows the flagship AA routes out of the water.

  10. On JFK-HOU a few weeks ago, I was streaming video on my iPad over the JetBlue free WiFi option just fine. I haven’t used inflight wifi very often (usually just Southwest or Emirates), but the JetBlue wifi was the best I’ve used so far.

  11. Ben, Singapore Airlines on there new A350 is charging a set price for the whole flight using wifi (20USD for AMS/SIN). So they are getting better 😉 the speed is decent as well!

  12. Although I’ve never flown them, I would absolutely switch to JetBlue if they started flying to Columbus and/or Cincinnati. Dayton would be the best but… yeah that’s probably not happening. Only problem is that I always travel to the west (L.A. and Denver in particular) so I would probably have to go east first to JFK, BOS, or FLL and then turn around and go west.

  13. Looks like you have AdBlock, but your “technologically illiterate” self managed to disable it for your own website!

  14. I am looking forward to jet blue flying from FLL to Atlanta.
    Also next year they will fly to ORD from FLL
    We already have
    Southwest, United , American and Sprit that fly from FLL to Chicago and I have tried them all and they all leave a lot to be desired
    Well actually southwest was probably the least miserable but most expensive. I’m wonder how stiff the commotion will be ?
    I could see American pulling its flight not to compete and making you connect in CLT as a way of refusing to compete. We’ll see what happens

  15. I streamed many episodes of “silicon valley” on hbo now on jetblue’s free wifi on lax-jfk flight without any buffering.

  16. Next time please post some speed test results from speedtest.com, otherwise there’s no way to know if the internet was actually fast or not.

  17. Anything on gogo is garbage. Thats why AA tried to ditch them. Gogo to me is like someone who won a govt contract with no bidders. They will get lots of money to do less than minimal work and don’t care. I’ve had speeds below 1mbps on gogo. I fly almost exclusively jetblue now on transcon. I have always had decent speed on free. Realistically, all you need is 3-6mbps for 480p video. You don’t have to worry about upload speeds. Hell I remember loooong time ago when I made my first internet phone call using my 56k modem. 1mbps upload is probably way more than you will use especially on a plane. The only upload you’ll realistically do is write emails. Now if you are attaching big old files or uploading your vacation photos to the cloud then you’re jacked. but interacting with a form on a web page, sending text, email etc. 1mbps is more than enough.

    The one nice thing about a slow upload speed is that its more secure that way. Less of your personal info can get nabbed by the bad guys because when you’re on an open wifi on a plane and you’re not using a vpn your passwords are very viewable to the bad person with the right network sniffing tools. Trust me, its not hard to do.

  18. lucky could you do us a small favor if you get a chance next time do a speedtest dot net test for us for the tech and travel junkies that read your blog

  19. If you are going to describe yourself as “extremely technologically illiterate”, do not write an piece on technology.

    I gather many interesting airline operation facts from your pieces, but after reading this one, you should be punished for lack of effort.

    You certainly point out when airline staff do not try hard enough.

  20. Hey Lucky, sorry you have so many critics on almost every single post you publish 🙁 Your blog is fantastic.
    I’m not terribly technical either, but I just go to http://www.fast.com anywhere I am (even works on mobile) and there’s no work involved, it just spits out a number! Try it out.

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