I'm sitting in seat 25D, en route to New York City on the return leg of my journey around the United States. All of my Delta and American Airlines flight so far have offered Gogo Inflight Internet service, however, I notice it comes at a hefty price. I guess there are two kinds of people when it comes to using wifi at 32,000 feet: those who don't mind spending $8 to buy a half-hour to send an important email or post a selfie, or, those who don't mind spending $21 for access during the full duration of the 5 hour flight. No matter the price you pay, one thing is clear: the wireless service Gogo provides is painfully, often mind-numbingly, slow. It's hard to justify spending any money on inflight internet service when you've just shelled out $4 for Pringles or splurged for the $9 "Snack Pack". What if I told you there was a way to access the internet for free?
When flying domestic, consider yourself lucky if your plane has monitors that drop down and loop a movie and some TV for a portion of the flight. In an effort to make up for their lack of entertainment options (and to earn additional revenue) most large carriers now grant travelers access to inflight video entertainment, in addition to wireless internet, through your mobile device. To take advantage of this, just turn on your wifi on your mobile device and select the Gogo wireless network (it's usually your only option). In your web browser, the Gogo welcome page will load. Scroll to the bottom and tap the first movie you see. A more detailed description of the movie appears, then, tap "Rent" or "Play". In order to stream the video, Gogo will ask you to download their mobile app. The next page will confirm whether or not you have the app, so tap "Download on the App Store" (see above).
The next screen will ask you to enter a short Captcha code, after which, you will be redirected and the iPhone App Store. During this time, your iPhone will be connected to the Internet to enable you to download of the Gogo app. But here's the catch: you don't have to download the app. Simply close the App Store window and your phone will remain connected to the Internet. If you're disconnected at any point, follow the same process starting with the Captcha code entry. The data transfer speeds are still quite slow and your connection will eventually drop, but I've found that it lasts long enough to check email, refresh my Instagram feed, and publish this post using my iPhone 5.
Purchasing Gogo in-flight Internet packages while on the ground in advance of your next flight are generally significantly cheaper than the packages offered while flying.