Triangle Trip

Tag: wifi

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 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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CSL offers the best prepaid mobile data plan in Hong Kong

by Captain G on Jul.22, 2013, under Business Tools, Business Travel, Vacation

If you’re visiting Hong Kong without a global roaming plan, buy a CSL (used to be called One2Free) prepaid SIM upon your arrival at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG). One2Free, a subsidiary of CSL has the best prepaid voice and fastest mobile plan available. This is an update from my previous post where I said Peoples offering the cheapest prepaid mobile data plan in Hong Kong).

You can pick up a CSL (One2Free) pre-paid SIM at the 7-Eleven or 1O1O (mobile phone shop) at HKG Terminal 1 Arrival Hall. The two shops are located in between Arrivals area A and B as indicated in this map:

CSL has the following prepaid mobile data plans with speed of up to 7.2Mbps (around 4G speed):

Prepaid Plan

HKD

Approx. USD

Hourly Pass

$8

$1.25

Day Pass

$28

$3.75

7 Day Pass

$78

$10.00

30 Day Pass for 5GB

$258

$33.00

To signup for one of the plans listed above, you’ll need to know CSL/One2Free’s SMS codes. Below is a quick list of codes for your reference:

Note that you may get throttled to 3G speed once you have exceeded 1GB of data usage. However, CSL’s service will probably faster than your roaming plan. For your information, CSL’s voice rate is around HK$0.30 per minute and around HK$0.80 per SMS.

If you’re an American, you should make sure your phone is unlocked before you leave the country. Check out Big A’s tip here.

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