T-Mobile Magenta customers who have enjoyed complimentary unlimited wi-fi on United Airlines will now find their internet passes limited to one hour, with four additional full flight passes per year.
T-Mobile Restricts Onboard Wi-Fi On United Airlines For Magenta Customers
When United and T-Mobile unveiled a new partnership to offer complimentary wi-fi onboard last September, it was described as:
- Magenta: unlimited one-hour passes limited to one use per flight plus four full flight passes per year
- Magenta MAX: unlimited full flight passes
United offers free internet via T-Mobile on select Boeing 757-300 and Airbus A319 jets as well as the entire Boeing 737 fleet.
But up until this week, Magenta customers have enjoyed unlimited complimentary flight passes. As a Magenta customer myself, over the last several months I’ve enjoyed unlimited full flight passes on my mobile phone simply by entering my mobile number. This has saved me money (since a flight pass is normally $8.00 for MileagePlus members) and made flights more enjoyable.
But this week I found that T-Mobile tightened its free wi-fi benefit to reflect what had been noted from the very start: Magenta customers will have their free wi-fi capped.
After entering your telephone number, you will now have a choice between a one-hour flight pass or a full-flight pass, which are limited to four per year:
The one hour flight pass cannot be paused, however after the hour expires you can still enjoy free messaging on apps like iMessage or WhatsApp (United offers this to all passengers).
While it is a shame that T-Mobile tightened its free in-flight wi-fi on United, this is not a devaluation in the sense that T-Mobile is now offering exactly what was promised in the first place. While I will miss the unlimited free wi-fi passes as a Magenta customer, I’d rather pay the $8/flight (or $49/month) for wi-fi versus modifying my very grandfathered mobile phone plan that I’ve had going back to the early days of T-Mobile in the USA.
Flew DL last week and used the free WIFI (it’s free for SkyMiles members) and I believe it is supported by T-Mobile, and it worked really well.
Exactly. UA is years behind Delta in Wi-Fi benefits. You just login in with your Skymiles on Delta and you are connected for free.
T-mobile continues to raise prices. They do it in the vail of new plans, which always cost more. Then they discontinue the lower priced options. It wasn’t long ago that unlimited plans were $50 for 1 line, then they went up to $70, and now as much as $95 for the newest plans. We need more competition
Correction….T-Mobile and ALL carriers continue to raise their prices.
Even the so called deals with cable providers like Spectrum & Comcast add up quickly when you add in IPads and Apple Watches.
We have become so dependent on our tech that I doubt more competition is going to help.
It’s not just United – this is the same as American Airlines too.
So did T-Mobile roll this out systemwide this week? You’re saying that this is a recent (last seven day) change on AA too?
This is on T-mobile DL flights as well (the ones where you don’t get free Wi-Fi) and they count cross carrier.
Used one “pass” on DL and the next flight on UA I used another from the same bank…
Alaska airlines has the same 1 hour free and 4 yearly unlimited passes restriction as well now
Earlier this year T-Mobile WiFi expanded across the whole fleet. The planes listed here were the initial roll out. This past Sunday I flew a 787-9 with Panasonic WiFi and used my T-Mobile pass for the 10 hours.
I was just on a 777-200 (domestic) that did not have it.
You must’ve been a rare case scenario then or something. I’ve flown plenty of Domestic 777’s since the full fleet roll out and had free T-Mobile Wi-Fi on all of them. Not once have I not had it.
Magenta Max is vastly superior to Magenta for international use – they both provide 5GB of *high-speed* international data, but Max provides it in *215* countries, vs just *11* countries for plain Magenta. As someone who travels for a living, it seems obvious to upgrade to Max. What do you pay per month with your grandfathered plan? If you get an Insider discount (easy to get with social engineering at a store), you can get the Max plan for $85-20% = $68/month.
@Matthew good news for us LAX based UA flyers, UA confirmed LAX-NRT is resuming in their objection to DL’s request about HND slot flexibility. So we are finally going to see UA’s promise of double Tokyo service from LAX play out.
Pretty cool to think only a few years ago UA was saying there would be no long haul flying out of LAX for the foreseeable future and now by later this year we will have LHR, SYD, MEL, BNE, AKL, HND, NRT. Hopefully there is still more to come too, LAX-FRA is the top of my wish list, but also given Russian airspace will prevent them from resuming EWR-PVG, we could also see LAX-PVG come back down the road if the governments can work out more slots.
You should definitely check out UA’s objection if you haven’t already, tons of good info in there, but the LAX-NRT comment really made me happy to see!
I personally am on Mint Mobile with 5GB of data for $17 (after taxes) per month. Aside from getting a dropped connection about every other month in a rural area, it’s worked great. I use WIFI the rest of the time. In any case, I can probably “hack” the 1 hour connection limit because I have multiple google forwarded “mobile” phone numbers…
I just flew back to New York from Tokyo on a United 777 and was able to use one of my four full flight T-mobile passes.
I’m guessing this should also be good news for people wishing to use their Platinum Amex to pay for Wi-Fi, as it now appears the UA portal will be used on most flights.
I would never go in to a T-Mobile store, get an employee’s business card, save their number in to my phone, and use it when I fly… But if I did, there would be nothing stopping me from using that number when I flew for free Wi-Fi. If I were to use the unlimited free sessions, the T-Mobile employee wouldn’t suffer any sort of loss, so no big deal. However, since there’s no real sort of authentication, what would be stopping me from using their 4 flight-length sessions?
There is a simple workaround for this, I did it last week and I got the old login screen with unlimited wifi. Matthew, you can email me for the details.
This has happened on other airlines (AA, AS probably DL too) but you single out United. Just wondering why that is?
I just changed my T-Mobile plan to the new Magenta Max, and now I get free Netflix and improved hot spot data. If you add in the free wifi on United, I am not sure why you wouldn’t want to change your plan.
I flew two different UAL 737s on Sunday and though both had free wi-fi, neither on actually worked. On one of them , the FA said that they were resetting it, but it never worked. As opposed to DAL where I always have good wi-fi.