American Airlines Offering Free High Speed Wifi For The Next 6 Weeks

In addition to better meals (and more improvements starting today even that I covered last week), a new business class suite coming and new premium economy seats, and elite status that’s easier to earn, American Airlines is testing free high speed wifi for passengers over the next six weeks.

American Airlines shares (first scooped by JonNYC) that they are trialing free high-speed wifi on ViaSat-equipped aircraft, which represents the bulk of their domestic mainline narrowbody fleet.

The airline says they want to “give customers a sample of its industry-leading high speed Wi-Fi” (just 15-30 minutes, sigh) by watching a sponsored ad in exchange for access.

This trial will also drive awareness for the inflight portal,, and help American better understand what inflight experiences are most meaningful to customers.

This trial is expected to run through May 25. And it has very little to do with driving awareness for

American’s Northeast Alliance joint venture partner JetBlue already offers free wifi, and there’s some effort to align products. The standard internet pricing is converging at $5 – $8 per flight segment on Delta, United, and American Airlines partner Alaska Airlines.

Delta wanted to offer free wifi, but the Gogo satellite internet they featured pre-pandemic couldn’t handle the usage that drove. American Airlines was prepared to offer free wifi almost three years ago in response to an expected announcement from Delta. Delta has moved to ViaSat also, improved its speed, and lowered price. Eventually they’ll get to free.

I see this as American Airlines needing to test uptake at the $0 price point and also advertiser-supported monetization opportunities. However it was just this past fall that they were telling employees they were looking at new ways to sell wifi to passengers, not to offer it free.

If you’re like me, paying for a monthly internet subscription, you may want to suspend it. However since this trial doesn’t cover Gogo satellite internet (on legacy US Airways A319s and A320s) or Gogo air to ground (on large regional jets) I’m not going to turn that off quite yet. I’ve got a regional jet in my near-term future.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. The free internet is only for 15-30 minutes, so maybe don’t cancel that pass yet if you’re flying longer legs

  2. After the culmination of a complimentary American Airlines experimental trial offering a 15-30 minute sample of high-speed broadband quality inflight internet, will the airline need to compare six more weeks of slow-speed and overpriced internet? After testing, who at the American Airlines C-suite will make the complex executive decision of which wi-fi service passengers desire?

  3. Great. Those internet speeds are going to be oh so fast for the next few weeks. I’d rather pay and it work.

  4. It’s already too slow to begin with. This will be 30 minutes to convince customers to never pay for this degraded service.

  5. @Duane – I’m not sure what your standard is for too slow, ViaSat is usually pretty good (where there’s coverage, flying A321s LAX-HNL when there’s no Pacific coverage is… unfortunate… fly a Gogo-equipped plane!)

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