This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
United’s Wi-Fi experience is… not great. In fact, it’s so not great that the airline sent out an email to customers announcing big improvements beginning in 2018. From my experience, the 737 fleet with ViaSat Ka-band Wi-Fi and even the transcon 757s with Gogo have offered decent-to-excellent performance, however I can’t say the same for any of United’s planes with Panasonic satellite internet, which I’ve found to be basically unusable recently.
I had a chance to chat with Panasonic executives at the APEX conference in October, and I was told that the company’s preparing to roll out a massive connectivity overhaul with several of its partner airlines, including United. Now it seems that United’s confident enough in the timeline to communicate this resolution directly to its customers.
According to United, these improvements will roll out to the airline’s Airbus fleet, in addition to Boeing 767s, 777s, 787s and the 757s used for flights to Europe and some transcons. Among other tweaks, we can expect:
- New (and more) wireless access points on Airbus planes beginning in January 2018 and other Panasonic-equipped aircraft by May 2018. United recently completed this process with its domestic 777s, which are already seeing a 130% boost in available capacity, apparently.
- New modems on all aircraft, which are expected to boost throughput by over 20 times current speeds, which would be phenomenal if it pans out as expected.
- More Panasonic satellites, though this component is out of the airline’s hands, unfortunately.
Some good has come of these Wi-Fi issues, however — a couple months ago I decided to donate any miles I received as compensation for the rest of the year, and so far 50,000 miles have made their way to a handful of charities, including the Red Cross, Ronald McDonald House and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
If you’ve been experiencing Wi-Fi issues I suggest letting the airline know, and, if you’d like, you can donate them instantly to an organization in need here. That said, I’m looking forward to actually being able to get some work done on my United flights soon. These improvements couldn’t come too soon!
Know before you go.
News and deals straight to your inbox every day.
Aside from the 75,000 points welcome bonus, Amex recently made huge improvements to the Business Platinum Card, including the fact that you will now earn 50% more points on purchases of $5,000 or more, earn 5x on flights and eligible hotels at Amextravel.com and cardholders will receive a $200 airline fee credit each year.
- Welcome Offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
- Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
- Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
- 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
- Enroll to get up to $200 in statement credits annually by getting up to $100 semi-annually for U.S. purchases with Dell. Terms apply.
- Get one year of Platinum Global Access from WeWork. With this membership, you can access 300+ premium, inspiring workspaces in 75+ cities. To get this exclusive offer, enroll between 2/15/2019 and 12/31/2019.
- Terms Apply
- See Rates & Fees