Private Jet Wi-Fi in the Sky: A Guide to Inflight Connectivity
With easy access to smartphones, smartwatches, and everything else that provides an instant connection to the internet, it’s no surprise that private flyers look forward to this ability while chartering a private jet. However, private jet Wi-Fi isn’t always included on every flight, and there are different types available for flyers.
If you have business to conduct, social media accounts to update, or simply a favorite Netflix series to catch up on, it’s important you speak to your private flight advisor about private jet Wi-Fi before you hit the skies.
Here’s everything you should know about private jet Wi-Fi before booking a charter flight.
Can you get Wi-Fi on a private jet?
Yes, most of the time. In some cases, like when an aircraft that isn’t equipped with a satellite Wi-Fi system leaves the continent, Wi-Fi may be unavailable. In most cases, though, Wi-Fi is available if passengers are willing to pay or it’s included in the charter cost.
Satellite Wi-Fi vs. Air-to-ground (ATG) Wi-Fi
When it comes to private jet Wi-Fi, there are two types available: satellite and air-to-ground (ATG) Wi-Fi.
Satellite Wi-Fi uses a satellite geostationary orbit to connect users to the internet. The Wi-Fi signal is available to passengers through an onboard router. This is usually the most expensive form of Wi-Fi, but it’s also the most efficient.
Satellite Wi-Fi requires large and heavy equipment that impacts an airplane’s weight, balance, and storage. Therefore, larger aircraft, like heavy and ultra-long-range jets, offer this kind of connectivity.
ATG Wi-Fi acts the same way cell phones do. By connecting to towers on the ground, wireless signals are sent upward to the aircraft so passengers can enjoy inflight internet access. This option is usually cheaper than satellite Wi-Fi, but it’s a little slower. And, because ATG Wi-Fi relies on cell towers for signals, this type of Wi-Fi is not available when flying over the ocean.
Most small aircraft, like super-mid and smaller, are likely to be equipped with ATG Wi-Fi.
Recently, SpaceX announced that it will be offering Wi-Fi services to private jet providers through Starlink Aviation’s new subscription platform. This high-speed option can provide internet surfers with speeds of up to 350 Mbps (Megabits per second). This will allow travelers to dial into Zoom meetings and stream movies and TV shows in flight with little interruption. The equipment needed to outfit private jets with Starlink connectivity is set to be delivered in 2023.
How fast is private jet Wi-Fi?
Internet speeds can vary based on the service provider, but air-to-ground systems typically offer about 10 Mbps and inflight satellite Wi-Fi ranges anywhere from 12 to 20 Mbps. If your aircraft is equipped with Starlink capability, you’ll enjoy up to 350 Mbps.
Private Jet Wi-Fi and Island Hopping
In some cases, private flights heading to island locations won’t be able to connect to the internet unless they use satellite Wi-Fi. This is simply because there aren’t any towers on the ground to enable your internet connection.
It’s important to know that if you’re chartering a small jet to an island that isn’t equipped with satellite Wi-Fi, you won’t be able to connect during your flight.
How much is Wi-Fi for a private jet?
The cost of using the internet inflight fluctuates from aircraft to aircraft and could be as cheap as $20 or set you back thousands of dollars depending on how you use it. The price depends on several factors, including the aircraft provider, the destination, the type of Wi-Fi the aircraft uses, how many Megabytes you use, and more.
Wi-Fi may be free on domestic flights, but that’s not always the case. It’s best to speak with your private flight advisor ahead of time so there are no surprise costs headed your way.
Depending on the region and private jet operator, you could pay anywhere from $3 to $9 USD per megabyte. A quick scroll down your Instagram feed could quickly add up, especially as pictures load. Spending time on Twitter likely won’t cost as much. Downloading an entire movie could cost thousands.
Is it worth buying Wi-Fi on a plane?
If you need access to the internet during your flight, and Wi-Fi isn’t included in the charter cost, it can get expensive to use Wi-Fi inflight. If you have to conduct business, it may be worth it to connect; however, if you plan on streaming a movie or scrolling through social media, you may want to wait until your plane lands at your destination. Just be sure that your private flight advisor explains the costs to you ahead of booking the private jet flight.
Do all private jets have Wi-Fi?
Many private jets available for charter offer inflight Wi-Fi. It’s important to remember that smaller aircraft usually offer ATG Wi-Fi while larger aircraft are more capable of providing passengers with Satellite Wi-Fi due to the size of the equipment. If you require Wi-Fi during your next private jet charter, be sure to talk to your private flight advisor.
5 Tips for Avoiding a Hefty Wi-Fi Invoice
1. If you’re looking to pass the time in the air with movies and TV shows, download them to your device before leaving home or the office. If you don’t have to stream them in flight, you won’t have to hook up to Wi-Fi.
2. Wait until you land to Facetime your partner or log into a Zoom meeting.
3. Compose your emails, but don’t hit send until you’re on the ground.
4. Shut down all your data-hogging apps that are running in the background of your devices.
5. Skip social channels that use a lot of data for images and videos (like Instagram and TikTok) and opt for word-based platforms instead, like Twitter.
Ready to book your best charter experience yet? Book with a Stratos private flight advisor to enjoy one of the safest aircraft in the skies. We only work with the most reputable operators, so you can rest assured that you’ll be flying safely at the best available price. Request a free quote online or dial 888.593.9066 to get started today.