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Which Airlines Offer Free Inflight Messaging?

March 22, 2019
2 min read
Which Airlines Offer Free Inflight Messaging?
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Staying connected to friends and family at cruising altitude used to be a pipe dream. Now, thanks to services such as Gogo and Viasat, having a live internet connection while flying has become the new normal. While JetBlue is the only domestic airline to offer free Wi-Fi, Delta is moving in that direction. In the meantime, a number of carriers do offer free inflight messaging.

Typically this allows you to connect your smartphone to the inflight network, where data-based messaging services like iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are granted access at no charge. Below, we'll cover which airlines offer the service, and any notable limitations.

(Photo by Lisa Weatherbee/The Points Guy)

Note that even on airlines where free inflight messaging is offered, you'll need to board an aircraft that has the proper equipment to deliver inflight Wi-Fi. You can learn more by reading our guide to the best US carriers for inflight Wi-Fi.

Airlines offering free inflight messaging:

  • Aeromexico
  • Air France
  • Alaska
  • Alitalia (free for Magnifica or Premium Economy class)
  • American (Viasat-only, and limited to Facebook Messenger)
  • China Eastern (registration required prior to flight)
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Emirates (only the first 20MB are free)
  • Nok Air
  • Norwegian Air
  • Philippine Airlines (free for first 15 minutes or 5MB)
  • Qantas
  • SAS (free in SAS Business, SAS Plus; free in SAS Go for EuroBonus Gold and Diamond members)
  • Saudia
  • Singapore Airlines (Suites, First and Business Class passengers and PPS Club members can enjoy one complimentary Wi-Fi session per flight sector)
  • Southwest
  • TAP Portugal
  • Turkish Airlines (free for business class and Miles & Smiles Elite/Elite Plus passengers)
  • Virgin Australia (free Standard Package on domestic flights)
  • Xiamen Air (registration required prior to flight)

Even if you end up on a carrier that doesn't offer free messaging, a multitude of credit cards enable free inflight Wi-Fi.

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Featured image by Pardon the bother, but are you utilizing this flight to learn something new? (Photo by the author / The Points Guy)

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

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  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
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  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
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  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more