Alaska Airlines Introduces Free Inflight Messaging

Alaska has just announced a very cool new permanent feature for customers (at least as of now it’s available through December 31, 2017). Effective immediately, Alaska will offer unlimited inflight messaging through Gogo wifi for all passengers. While you can continue to pay to use Gogo wifi, all customers can message for free through iMessage, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.

alaska-inflight-messaging

You’ll be able to send messages and emojis, though can’t send pictures or videos. Obviously this only works in regions where Gogo wifi works, which excludes portion of flights to Mexico, Hawaii, Latin America, etc.

Per Alaska’s website, here’s how this new feature works:

  1. Turn on your smartphone’s Wi-Fi.
  2. Connect to the “gogoinflight” network.
  3. Launch your web browser.
  4. Choose the “Free Chat” option.

Seems easy enough! This is a very cool new feature, and is similar to what T-Mobile offers their customers. T-Mobile customers receive unlimited free messaging on their smartphone on Gogo equipped planes, as well as one hour of unrestricted free wifi on their smartphone each flight.

T-Mobile-Wifi

This is a very nice new feature for customers, which I’m sure many will find valuable.

On top of that, for a limited time (through March 31, 2017), Alaska is offering free unlimited streaming of their entertainment options on passengers’ devices:

To celebrate its recent merger with Virgin America and the concept of “Different Works,” Alaska is offering free, unlimited access to its entire catalog of entertainment available to stream on guests’ devices, including Hollywood movies and popular TV shows through March 31, 2017. New titles available to view in January include Hollywood hits Nice Guys, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, X-Men Apocalypse, and Ice Age Collision Course.

Given that American and Delta have recently made their entertainment selections complimentary, it’s great to see Alaska follow.

Comments

  1. Is American entertainment complimentary from your own device or from the AVOD monitors? I know United is free on your own screen; not sure about the TV monitors, though.

  2. @a not sure about own screen, but as of last month United was still charging for DirectTV on IFE screens transcon. My American transcon didn’t even offer IFE screens, so your only choice was own device entertainment. I want to say both were B738s, but may be wrong on that.

  3. @Rob – I think they are still charging on legacy Continental equipment, which had AVOD and DirectTV. This was an unpleasant surprise for me last month on a DEN-PHX flight (thankfully it’s a short flight). I should have known better than to assume the plane would have free own-device entertainment, because, you know, United.

  4. This is great, but I’d like to see them lower the cost for wifi. My last Alaska flight from Seattle to Baltimore charged $28 for wifi. That seems crazy.

  5. The funny thing about the UA charge is the money doesn’t actually go to UA — it goes to DirecTV as a result of a rather strange deal CO made with them a long time ago.

  6. Ben- did you know the new T-Mobile One Plus plan now offers free Gogo for the ENTIRE flight on all U.S. based airlines?

  7. I assume it’s not intentional but I’ve found on many United flights, if I connect to their wifi on my phone I can send and receive iMessages without ever paying. Photos and videos don’t send but messages do. This doesn’t work on Gogo flights (e.g. PS service and E-175’s) but on their mainline seems to work a lot of the time.

  8. American has free entertainment on both your device as well as the seat back screens. They stopped charging several months ago. And it’s actually a staggering collection as in hundreds of movies. On planes without seat back screens, you can stream on your own device, still free.

    I’ve used the Tmobile feature for a while now and it’s truly fantastic. It used to be just sms, but now has all messaging just like what Alaska launched.

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