Follow up to my previous post about United’s international WiFi offering, I’d the chance to take advantage of United’s international WiFi service on United flight 180 from Hong Kong to Newark. I’ve been doing the EWR-HKG route since my previous post but none of those flights had a working electricity outlet which prevented me from forking over US$17 for 3 hours of internet service. On this flight, the electricity outlet on my seat is working which means I’ll have about 10 hours of internet connection for $17.
Soon after leaving Chinese air space where there is no satellite coverage, I was able to login to United WiFi using my United MileagePlus credentials. The signup process was extremely smooth as my credit card on file was shown and all I had to do was to check off the terms and conditions box and the purchase button.
The next thing I did was to test if I could use my paid subscription across multiple devices. The answer is YES. I was able to login to my Mac and iPhone BUT not at the same time. Each United MileagePlus account can only pay for one United WiFi subscription. You can however switch devices using your MileagePlus account as the login.
The second thing I did was to run a speedtest to check the connection speed. Below is the result flying over Japan:
As you can see from the connection speed results, do not expect to use United’s international WiFi connection to do anything beyond checking emails, browsing basic sites such as reading news, and writing this post
For the record, I’ve tried the following services:
- FaceTime which timed out.
- Skype call which worked but the voice quality was unbearable.
- Websites with rich content (video and text) such as ESPN.com took about 30 seconds to load.
In summary, I think the $17 for approximately 10 hours (losing 3 hours flying out of China air space and about 2 hours to get above certain altitude to receive WiFi) is worth it.