United Wifi: How Can It Be So Bad?

This post is by Drummond Reed from Equals Drummond

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United-WifiI just flew United non-stop from Seattle to Washington D.C. (Dulles) and back. I realized too late after booking the trip that this was the airline on which I had never successfully connected to their in-air wifi. Since it was a five hour flight, I decided I would bear down this time and finally fix the problem (after all, I’ve worked in the Internet business for over 20 years).

So, on the outbound trip, I literally spent TWO HOURS trying everything I could to get a connection. Absolutely nothing worked. After I gave up in frustration, a helpful flight attendant (who I could tell had spent many hours trying to debug wifi connections for passengers) make the suggestion to forget the United wifi network at the end of the flight.

So I did that and then tried to forget all about the whole experience—too many other things to worry about after missing

hours of productive online time during that flight.

Yesterday came the return flight. After we reached 10,000 feet, I dared to try to connect again to see if the flight attendant’s tip worked. And amazingly—it did! For the first time in seven flights, I was able to successfully connect to United wifi. And in fact for the next two hours it was the smoothest and fastest I’d experienced on any airline.

And then…poof! The connection just stopped working. As soon as it happened, my heart sank. Back to United wifi hell. I spent 45 minutes trying every combination again, including completely forgetting the United wifi connection and rebooting my Mac from scratch.

Nothing worked. I even confirmed with the flight attendants that the wifi was still working. It was just my connection. So…

Dear United: in-flight wifi is so important to me that I regret to inform you, despite being a loyal member of your United Mileage Plus program, I will no longer fly your airline until someone credible informs me your wifi finally works.



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