United Airlines will offer passengers complimentary messaging over wi-fi starting on December 17, 2021 and rolling out across the mainline and regional fleet by March 2022.
Free Wi-Fi Messaging On United Airlines
As of December 17th, there will be a new option when you connect to United’s onboard wi-fi network. If you are just looking to message during your flight, it will now be free. Just choose the new free messaging option on the wi-fi landing page at unitedwifi.com.
Complimentary messaging platforms will include, but not be limited to:
- Facebook messenger
Any IP-based messaging will work, though the transmission of pictures and videos will be prohibited.
This new benefit will be available immediately on much of the mainline and express fleet, but gradually roll out on the Boeing 757-200, 767, and 787-9.
- A319 – all aircraft
- A320 – all aircraft
- B737 – all aircraft
- B757-200 – select aircraft (all aircraft by March 2022)
- B757-300 – all aircraft
- B767 – select aircraft (all aircraft by March 2022)
- B787-8 – all aircraft
- B787-9 – select aircraft (all aircraft by March 2022)
- B787-10 – all aircraft
- B777 – all aircraft
- CRJ-550 – all aircraft
- CRJ-700 – all aircraft
- E170/175 – select aircraft (all aircraft by January 2022)
The service will not be available on CRJ200s and E145s, which do not offer wi-fi onboard.
In a memo reviewed by Live and Let’s Fly, United tells employees this move is to further United’s goal to become world’s best airline:
“As we continue our journey to become the world’s best airline, we’re always looking for new ways to improve our customers’ experience while on board.”
United’s biggest problem was not the lack of free messaging, but the lack of stable, fast wi-fi. Thankfully, that seems to be changing. I’ve had much better luck this year with United’s wi-fi and increasingly found it to be dependable and fast. In fact, I type this article onboard a United 787-9 over the Atlantic Ocean where the internet has worked nearly flawlessly throughout the flight.
This move is sure to improve passenger satisfaction scores. Who doesn’t like to stay in touch with friends and family without having to pony up the money (sometimes as high as $9.99/hour) for wi-fi onboard? I will certainly take advantage of this on flights in which I do not need full internet access.
After trialing free messaging in July, United Airlines will now offer free messaging across its fleet (by next March). Look for the “free messaging” link on your next flight and enjoy unlimited use of popular apps like iMessage, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger.
Will you take advantage of free messaging on your next United flight?