United Airlines will trial free messaging onboard a number of popular apps on select Boeing 737 aircraft next week.
United Airlines Will Offer Free Messaging Onboard Select Aircraft
From April 12 – 18, 2021 United will test a new technology that allows passengers to send IP-based messaging for free onboard more than 120 737-900ER aircraft (coded the 37K) without purchasing Wi-Fi.
The following apps will be included:
- Facebook Messenger
It does not include SMS or sending large amounts of data like photos, video, or attachments.
How Do You Obtain Free Messaging On United?
Customers flying on a 737-900ER (37K) aircraft can access free messaging by following these instructions:
- Put the phone in airplane mode
- Connect to United Wi-Fi
- Go to Unitedwifi.com
- Click on the “Free Messaging” option
Will It Go Systemwide?
A United spokesperson tells me that whether this trials expands to more aircraft or on a permanent basis will depend upon customer feedback from next week. I cannot imagine any passenger complaining about free messaging, so be sure to let United know (via post-flight survey) if you like it and hopefully we will soon see it onboard all United flights.
Rather than a unified system, United continues to have a patchwork of internet providers. The technology to allow complimentary messaging is theoretically possible across all service providers, but it is not as simple a process as flipping a switch.
In reality, messaging has already been free on many 737-900. Perhaps unintended, but I’ve successfully been able to message or check comments on my WordPress app and blog numbers on my Google Analytics app without paying for wifi.
American Airlines and Delta Air Lines already offer free messaging, so United is just catching up here. Still, it’s a good first step and a great and relatively easy way to keep passengers happy and occupied onboard.
Will you look forward to using free messaging service onboard United?