With these airlines you can use the internet in the plane | Tech

In the past, a flight was the time for a forced digital detox. Today, however, you can simply use the Internet in more and more planes. How does it work and where can it be done?

For a long time, it seemed like an impossible dream: to use the Internet on the plane. But a turning point began 22 years ago when Boeing made its first attempt to offer Wi-Fi during air travel. The feature gained momentum after the introduction of modern smartphones in 2007, and today most major airlines offer Wi-Fi. You can usually find them on long-haul intercontinental flights, but flight Wi-Fi is also on the rise in Europe.

Airplane WiFi works via ground and air

You can provide Wi-Fi in the plane in two ways: via ground and via satellite. Low-flying aircraft especially benefit from the first form. An antenna on the underside of the aircraft comes in contact with nearby telephone towers. The antenna then divides the signal on board and acts as a kind of telephone hotspot.

Wifi via the telephone network is usually not that fast. You are totally dependent on telephone masts, so over the sea or in areas with poor smartphone coverage you have little or no internet.

You see this technology more often in the United States, where many national flights simply go over land. Even then, an internet connection can still be lacking – the US is large and there are still quite a few places with almost no telephone towers.

Satellite Internet

To solve these problems, many aircraft are now working with a system that runs either entirely via satellite or in hybrid form. Aircraft with satellite internet have an antenna on top that can pick up signals from satellites just outside the atmosphere.

These satellites work via the so-called Ku and Ka bands. The Ka band operates at a higher frequency and therefore offers a faster connection, but has a slightly smaller range. The cow belt is slightly less affected by the weather, and a signal on this belt can remain in contact with the aircraft over a longer distance.

Do you fly far and wide? Then your plane is probably using satellite internet.

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Where can you get internet on the plane?

Usually, airlines with a Wi-Fi symbol on your ticket or reservation page indicate that there may be internet on board. Because it is quite expensive to add and offer the technology to aircraft, you usually have to pay to use it.

Free WiFi can only be found on a few foreign airlines, including JetBlue Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Aer Lingus and Air New Zealand. Norwegian Air only flies within Europe and offers – limited – free WiFi there.

For a long time, European airlines thought it was strange to offer Wi-Fi on flights within their own continent, while it has long been normal in the United States. Since 2016, it has become increasingly easier to use the Internet, for example on your flight from Amsterdam to the Mediterranean.

These airlines offer Wi-Fi in Europe

If you fly with KLM or partner AirFrance, there is a chance that you can also use WiFi on board – but for a fee, unless you only stick to messaging apps. The Dutch airline has been offering Wi-Fi on longer flights for years. Since last year, you can also sometimes use the Internet on board Europe.

Within Europe, you pay 8 euros per flight with KLM to be able to send messages and surf the Internet. Outside Europe it is 8 euros for an hour, or 18 euros for the whole flight. For example, would you like to be able to stream Netflix or Spotify? It will cost you 12 euros per. flight within Europe or 30 euros to distant destinations.

Lufthansa also offers Wi-Fi on some flights within Europe, at least on their A320 aircraft. Are you leaving Europe? Then you will definitely get WiFi on a Lufthansa flight.

You can also go to British Airways, Finnair and Icelandair for WiFi when traveling in Europe. And if you fly to or via Turkey: Turkish Airlines offers Wi-Fi on more than 131 routes.

Yet there are still many companies that do not yet have WiFi on board, especially within Europe. Cheap low cost carriers like RyanAir do not seem to be interested in it. This is how it will probably remain for a while: It costs some money to install it, and it makes the planes heavier – not good for the price of your plane ticket.

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