Is The Best Deal For Inflight Wifi Dead?

In early August I first wrote about US Mobile, which offers unlimited inflight internet service through iPass for just $10 per month. While it gets you access to 35 million hotspots around the world, what made this deal the most incredible was that it also got you access to both Gogo and Panasonic wifi on one device.

You know how the saying goes — if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Long term I figured there was no way that Gogo and/or Panasonic would allow this to continue. I don’t know how the arrangement works on the back-end, but a lot of us would be canceling our $50 per month Gogo memberships in favor of these $10 per month passes, and I can’t imagine Gogo would have been happy about that.

I tried to sign up for the US Mobile deal in early August, but I couldn’t get it to work. I followed all the steps, and then spent over an hour on chat support while on a plane between Gogo and US Mobile and iPass, and just kept getting pushed around. So at that point I gave up, since I knew I wouldn’t be giving up my Gogo membership in the short term anyway (I have grandfathered pricing because I’ve had my membership for so long, and wasn’t expecting this to last that long). However, I know other people have managed to make this work.

Well, just under two months from when this deal was uncovered, it looks like there’s now a “hiccup.”

The US Mobile site indicates that their monthly passes are now “sold out.”

When you click on the button where you can join the waitlist, it says the following:

Due to popular demand, we’ve sold out of wifi passes. We know how much of a pain this is. We’re also tired of the price gouging and poor customer service that’s par for the course. We just want you to know that we’re doing everything in our power to get more passes in your hands.

If you’d like to be notified of when we have more in stock, please let us know what your email is and we’ll get back to you.

With much love,

-The US Mobile Team

Keep in mind that you have to renew your membership every month, so this impacts even existing members. We’ll have to wait and see if this deal is simply dead and they’re just trying to phrase it delicately, if they actually have a finite number of these passes they can issue and it’s like a lottery system, or what.

Like I said, I generally think that if something sounds too good to be true it probably is, so my guess is that this is either a dead deal, or on the way to being one.

(Tip of the hat to Travel Codex)

Comments

  1. Damn. That was a great $10 spent last month. Was waiting to renew until closer to my next travel dates to maximize the 30 days.

  2. Same here. Was holding out until the 30 days which would cover all of my travels in October/November but then the day I wanted to buy (Sept. 21st) was the day they “sold out”. Was quite bummed to have missed such a good deal. Would have loved to have tried various different carriers in-flight Wi-Fi cos I have a few legs booked which this plan covered (Scoot, JAL and AA)

  3. @lucky
    I noticed on Twitter you had the same issue I had, which was that you got ‘Activation Error’ when trying to log in via iPass (oddly enough, it was a Google search that brought me to your tweet as I was having the same issue.)

    In theory, you’re supposed to be auto-connected via the app, but on my iPad the iPass app dismisses the Gogo captcha page before you’re able to connect. Logging in via the iPass portal doesn’t work as USMobile doesn’t give you credentials (you’re given a token, not an iPass account.)

    It blows my mind how awful airplane WiFi is on so many carriers. Singapore’s OnAir service is the absolute worst, but GoGo is fairly outrageous.

  4. I chatted with a US Mobile rep who said that it should be available again in a few days, and with a few extra feature. Of course, this was last Sunday that I was told this, but…hopefully soon. Though the comment about the extra features makes me wonder if it will also be for an extra cost. Guess we’ll see.

  5. Gogo is terrible…I can get email and iMessage working on my iPad about half the time. The other half, it’s just totally blinkered. Forget about web browsing.

    I have US Mobile and have paid $60 for Gogo plans in the past but if I weren’t being reimbursed I wouldn’t even pay $10 for Gogo anymore.

  6. I find that for T-Mobile customers, the one hour of free Gogo wifi goes a long way. Even just connecting from my phone, I get a lot of e-mailing done in that hour (sending out pre-written messages and reading new ones). For longer flights, I use the Gogo passes I get from my Amex Business Platinum card.

  7. Hard to tell if the iPass membership really works, to be honest.

    Tried it on a recent LH flight and just got a generic error message after trying to “log in with roaming partner”. Bought a €17 pass instead which LH’s wifi partner very reluctantly agreed to refund (after saying they do not support iPass but having no good answer why they display its logo on their roaming-partners page if this is the case).

    Tried it on a UA flight with Gogo a while back, worked at first then suddenly failed. Gogo in-flight support gave me a free flight wifi voucher instead.

  8. Not enough discussion on the BoardingArea blogs about the 10gogo passes you get from having a FlexPerks card. That is a very valuable perk.

  9. I purchased this when all the articles were written about it and activated it last week. I used it extensively on my HNL-DFW flight last night on a reconfigured AA 767. It worked perfectly.

  10. I tried and tried, on two separate flights, to get iPass to work. Could not do it. $10 is a great price for service that works, but it’s way too much to pay for nothing.

  11. I accidentally bought 3 “plans” because I misunderstood the signup process. One expires in a few days, and the other two haven’t been activated yet. Given that I have $20 of credit, I hope that lets me activate one of the others on demand.

  12. I bought a plan the day you posted the blog. It works great. Just used it yesterday on an AA flight from Japan to LAX. My issue is the renewal process is rather problematic. It turns out, instead of renewing the plan I had, I ended up buying a second plan and my original subscription lapsed. Oddly, in my account page, it shows my active second subscription and my first lapsed one waiting to be renewed.

  13. The plan only works on flights with Gogo. If you are on a united flight that just has United’s own wifi US Mobile says they’re still working on that. The majority of United domestic flights do not have Gogo. I canceled

  14. Maybe it was a scam?

    I spend $10 and couldn’t get it to work on AA 787s between ORD and DUB. Either way. Plus a few attempts on some AA MD80s. All supposedly with support.

    I assume I’ll not get hit with another $10 unless I “activate” or some such?

  15. Actually I used it on Etihad for YYZ-AUH and was quite pleased with it. I also made the mistake of “stocking up” on passes but then realized the details on expiry. Customer service was superb and refunded as it was requested within hours of purchase. Will certainly use them again, well worth it.

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