Triangle Trip

Tag: united

United international WiFi experience (HKG>EWR)

by Captain G on Mar.13, 2015, under Airlines

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.

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United will not charge a change fee if it changed its schedule

by Big A on Dec.05, 2014, under Airlines

I had booked my flight far in advance from SFO to Paris for the Paris Marathon.  There was only one option for a 30K nonstop saver award which was on a Tuesday.  Recently, I received an email from United about a schedule change due to the removal of the nonstop flight on Tuesday.  I was booked for SFO to EWR, than EWR to CDG with a 1 hour connection.

Not wanting to have a connection, I called up United’s customer service to see what they could do.   I also looked up award tickets, and saw the nonstop flight on Tuesday was indeed gone on but they had one on Wednesday and Thursday for 60K miles. No more saver awards.  The agent quickly saw this flight on Wednesday and asked if I wanted to do that instead.  I agreed, but she had to get permission to change a revenue seat into an award seat.

A schedule change on your award ticket might look like bad luck but in reality in can be a blessing in disguise.  This was easy as pie, it took longer to give the representative my confirmation number than changing the flight with no fees and no fuss.

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United Airline offers International WiFi (from HKG to EWR)

by Captain G on Oct.15, 2014, under Airlines

On my recent United flight from Hong Kong to Newark, I was caught off guard by the availability of WiFi being offered for an international route. And of all the airlines in the world, it was United offering this service. I was skeptical as we were flying over China and all I got was “Internet is unavailable.”

However, once I left China airspace I was successfully able to connect to the Internet using my Mileage Plus credentials. After I logged in, I see the cost to buy Internet services for the entire flight ($17) or by the hour which I believe was $4.99 per hour. The HKG to EWR flight was about 16 hours.  I was able to get service 4 hours after takeoff which leaves me 12 hours of flight time for around $20. I didn’t have to urge to check email and opted to sleep.

I believe United’s international WiFi is an awesome offering for those who need to stay connected with work while on a long haul flight. The $20 for 12 hours seems to be a fair price as well. However don’t expect to have broadband service as dial-up or 2G speed is probably more likely the norm.

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