American Airlines adds free inflight messaging on select planes
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. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
As of Wednesday Dec 16, American Airlines is joining JetBlue in offering free Wi-Fi for passengers traveling on flights with Viasat connectivity. With a notable catch.
JetBlue’s has always been free, with full access to the internet, including high-quality video streaming, web browsing and more. American Airlines’ free service is a bit more limited — in that you’ll only have access to Facebook Messenger, including Messenger Kids.
Same technology, vastly different “free” experience — you’d be forgiven for feeling a bit underwhelmed.
American Airlines is currently running a “trial” with its free messaging offering over the next four months — if all goes well, hopefully we’ll see it expanded to other services, and perhaps even full web browsing and streaming, too. For now, if you’re hoping to take advantage of this limited connectivity, you’ll need to download Facebook Messenger before your Viasat-equipped flight.
Delta also offers free messaging, but with broader support — WhatsApp and Apple’s Messages app are included, too, excluding photo, video and SMS messaging.
On AA, Facebook Messenger is available on all aircraft with Viasat service, which covers roughly 80% of American Airlines’ narrow-body fleet, including many Airbus A319s and A321s, along with Boeing 737-800s and the carrier’s 737 MAX.
Full access comes along with the regular variable fee, depending on your route. Customers can also opt to purchase one of the airline’s monthly subscription plans, at $50 for one device or $60 for two. If you aren’t traveling often, be sure to suspend your service to avoid the carrier’s “hassle-free, automatic renewal.”
American Airlines fliers with T-Mobile devices may also have unlimited texting access on flights with Gogo service, which is also available on Gogo-equipped flights operated by Alaska Airlines and Delta. All T-Mobile customers may also be able to get a free hour of Wi-Fi on select Gogo flights, while subscribers get unlimited Gogo Wi-Fi with certain plans.
As with many other carriers, American also offers streaming from an onboard server, including free access to movies and TV shows from your own laptop, tablet or phone, giving you something to stay entertained on planes that don’t offer seat-back screens.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new card in your first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Earn 50,000 bonus miles and 5,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $2,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months.
- Plus, earn up to $100 back in statement credits for eligible purchases at US restaurants with your card within the first 3 months of membership.
- Accelerate your path to Medallion Status, with Status Boost®. Plus, in 2021 you can earn even more bonus Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) to help you reach Medallion Status.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees