Wifi on the plane

Surfing and streaming during the flight, is that possible?

With LTE and smartphones, you can be online in almost every corner of the world. Whether at home or in the office, people have become accustomed to the constantly available Internet outside their own four walls. For many, a flight was therefore a real deprivation and made some planning necessary in order to be able to use the time on the plane sensibly away from tablet and co. In the meantime, aircraft manufacturers are technically capable of equipping planes with modules that enable WLAN on board an aircraft. The airlines are responsible for setting the rates.

WLAN im Flugzeug

Which aircraft have wifi on board?

Unfortunately, this cannot be said in general. Here it is recommended to visit the website of the airline. Older aircraft usually do not have Wi-Fi on board, and newer ones only have it if the airline orders it. The antenna for the satellite connection weighs around 200 kg and sits on top of the fuselage of an Airbus A320-neo. That's what prompted Lufthansa, for example, to equip its new aircraft without Wifi in 2019. Lufthansa, for example, has developed Flynet as its own service for its aircraft. More info is available from Lufthansa.

Who offers free wifi?

It is rare to find completely free Wi-Fi on flights. Usually a few minutes are included free of charge, and then the price for the connection in the air is staggered, usually depending on the transmission speed. What many nevertheless offer is that you can get on the WLAN on the plane and stream saved documentaries, series or movies. However, this is not via the subscribed streaming service, but directly on the plane. The selection is limited, but there are no stutters or dropouts, since the Internet is not technically needed for this. Since the technology is relatively new and additional money can be earned on board, the prices change relatively often. Basically, you can assume that if the plane offers WLAN you can surf for free for about 10 to 15 minutes, then there is an entry-level tariff with low bandwidth for about 5-10 euros. If you like it a bit faster, you can expect 15-25 euros. This varies greatly between airlines and changes constantly due to competition for passengers.

Have you ever used the Internet on a plane?
Yes, was great
27,27 %
Yes, but the speed was lousy
54,55 %
No, I do not need this
18,18 %
Show answers only

How to connect to the wifi on an airplane?

Basically, it is quite simple: Flight mode is enabled and the Wi-Fi is activated on the smartphone. The network is normally displayed as available Wi-Fi. When you connect to the network, a page opens where you have to enter some data and can then choose between the rates. Either one decides for the free time, chooses the slow or fast tariff. Here it is good to have prepared the payment providers on the cell phone, otherwise you can fail here relatively quickly if the time of free minutes is not enough to set this up in a pinch. Therefore, it is good to have Paypal on the phone or Apple Pay on the iPhone already activated. If you have problems connecting, the on-board staff will certainly help you, although they are not trained technicians and may not be able to offer complete technical service.

Which airlines have wifi on board?

Unfortunately, there is no conclusive answer to this question. In principle, almost every airline now has aircraft in its fleet that offer Wi-Fi. But it can happen that you fly back and forth with the same airline, that you can enjoy Wi-Fi on board one flight and not the other. A lot has happened in recent years, and airlines are constantly upgrading and improving their offerings. Internet during the flight is simply a super argument for the passengers and so it can be that one decides because of Wifi for a certain airline. So it doesn't help to pick out the connections and then surf the airlines' websites to see if this flight offers wifi. After presumably more and more people will use the Internet on board, there is also more and more incentive for the airlines to offer this technology on the planes. We therefore assume that this feature will be offered more and more and will be the standard on modern aircraft in the near future. At the moment, we are still in a kind of transition phase, but this can be protracted, as aircraft have a very long service life and are in operation for decades.


In an increasingly technical world with different smart devices and airlines competing for passengers, we can assume that the Internet will become standard on board an aircraft. Whether this will ever be included in the standard ticket price, we rather do not assume. The better classes like business class or first class will probably have this as standard relatively soon. In Economy Class, you will probably still be able to pay for it at extra cost. If you don't want the luxury of Wi-Fi on board, you can also store content from Netflix or other providers on your tablet and then enjoy it on the plane without any additional costs or jerkiness. In practice, the Internet in the air is not comparable with the WLAN at home. Despite reasonably stable connections, it can sometimes work a little slower and so the hit series becomes a frustration when the picture freezes every few minutes because the connection can't deliver enough data. So, anyone who wants to watch a series is strongly advised to look into the offline function of the content and really only use the Internet on board for surfing or chatting. This usually works without any problems and so you can chat a bit with your loved ones to pass the time during the flight.

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Frequently asked questions

Is there wifi on a plane?
In principle, yes. However, it is unfortunately not possible to make a general statement, as the technical possibilities are developing rapidly. A look at the airline's website should be able to answer the question relatively quickly.
How much does wifi cost on an airplane?
Usually a few minutes are free. Many airlines then charge from 5 to about 25 EUR for unlimited pleasure. However, there are now also flights where Wi-Fi is completely included. A look at the airline's website should provide clarity.
Do airplanes have Wi-Fi?
Yes and no. Technically, it is possible for airplanes to offer WiFi, but it always depends on whether the airline has ordered the aircraft with the antenna and operates the aircraft with WiFi. Basically it is getting better and better and more and more airlines offer wifi networks in their planes and so passengers can use the internet while on the plane.