United's entire fleet is now equipped with WiFi, and a deal with T-Mobile now extends subscribers' free access to the WiFi to all three of United's WiFi providers, Panasonic, Thales and Viasat.
The only exceptions, soon to be added, are small regional jets that still use Gogo air-to-ground connections. T-Mobile uses its deals with United, Alaska and American as a selling point for its top plans, along with free data connections around the world.
For those not on T-Mobile, United offers free text-messaging, and charges for WiFi, but at a lower price than in the past—$8 per flight, or 1600 MileagePlus points for loyalty members.
Generally, the trend in recent months has been to lower charges for WiFi, with Delta offering it free to loyalty members and others lowering rates. JetBlue has always made free service a selling point. Swimming against the tide, however, Southwest last month changed its rate from $8 per day to $8 per flight, meaning a double charge for passengers whose itinerary requires a change.