Staying connected in the skies is becoming more and more common. Many airlines, including Air Canada, have been installing Wi-Fi on an increasing proportion of their aircraft in recent years.
Personally, I use Wi-Fi onboard flights, as I like to get work done while I’m going from point A to point B. Having Wi-Fi available is also convenient to stay in touch with people on the ground.
This article looks at the various methods at your disposal to access the internet aboard Air Canada flights.
Does My Air Canada Flight Have Wi-Fi?
The first thing to determine when planning for your trip is whether or not the flight(s) you’ll be on have Wi-Fi available in the first place. It’s fairly easy to ascertain, though, and just requires a few clicks.
One way is through your flight search. In the search results for paid flights, a Wi-Fi logo will appear in the middle of the line showing each direct flight.
If you have multiple flights on an itinerary, each line will show which flight has Wi-Fi available. In the below screenshot, there is Wi-Fi available on both flights between Vancouver and Halifax in the first result, but only between Montreal and Halifax in the second.
The availability of Wi-Fi isn’t displayed on Aeroplan search results, so you’ll either have to search for paid flights as a proxy, or search for whether your flight has Wi-Fi on a dedicated page on Air Canada’s website.
Unfortunately, you can only search for Wi-Fi availability for the next five calendar days, so this option may not be as convenient as the other.
Air Canada has installed Wi-Fi on the majority of its wide- and narrow-body aircraft. There are only a few Boeing 787-8 and Airbus A330 aircraft that are yet to have it available, and I imagine that is an ongoing process that should be completed in the near future.
The actual Wi-Fi is provided by Chicago-based Gogo Inc., who also provides service to United, Alaska Airlines, and Delta Airlines.
Accessing Wi-Fi onboard is straightforward. Once the plane has reached altitude, simply connect to the Wi-Fi network and enter “aircanadawifi.com” in your browser on mainline Air Canada flights, or “rougewifi.com” if you’re in the unfortunate position of flying on Air Canada Rouge.
From there, you’ll be prompted to log in to or register for a Gogo account, or log in to your Aeroplan account if you have Wi-Fi benefits as part of Aeroplan Elite Status.
If you have a pass already, you will connect automatically. Otherwise, you’ll have to select your plan, pay for it, and then you’ll be connected.
How Much Does Air Canada Wi-Fi Cost?
The price of Wi-Fi is dependent on your destination, the duration of time for which you’d like Wi-Fi access, and the type of access you require.
Purchasing Wi-Fi Before the Flight
Prior to departure, it’s possible to buy Wi-Fi via Gogo. There are three options to choose from:
- Air Canada One-Hour Pass ($6.50)
- Air Canada One-Way Pass ($21.00)
- Air Canada Plan ($65.95 per month)
Gogo also offers an All-Day Pass for $19, which gives you unlimited internet access for a 24-hour period when flying within Canada, the United States, and/or Mexico.
Of all the pre-purchase options, I would consider the Gogo All Day Pass to be the best value. For example, you have a connecting flight (including on other Gogo-equipped airlines like United), you’d be able to enjoy Wi-Fi on both flights without buying a separate pass.
If you travel on more than four Wi-Fi equipped flights per month, it could be worthwhile considering the Air Canada Plan to ease the burden on your credit card.
One benefit that comes with purchasing Wi-Fi onboard Air Canada is free access to PressReader, which has over 7,000 magazines and newspaper available on its app.
Purchasing Wi-Fi During the Flight
If you don’t purchase Wi-Fi prior to departure, you’ll have the option to buy it on the flight. To do so, follow the same steps described above to connect to the flight’s Wi-Fi and log in to your Gogo account.
You’ll be presented with a number of options specific to your flight. While the options will likely be similar in cost to the buy-before-you-fly ones, it could also be more expensive.
It’s also possible to redeem Aeroplan points for Wi-Fi passes, but not for monthly plans, at a value of 1cpp. It’s possible to get much better value for Aeroplan points on flight redemptions, so we recommend not redeeming points for Wi-Fi.
Generally speaking, you can expect to pay more for flights with longer distances and for faster download speeds.
Some of the choices may differentiate between the speed available on the flight. For example, you can choose between a browsing pass, which would be good for emails and web browsing, and a streaming pass, which would be better for more data-heavy internet uses.
For example, last September I flew to Switzerland to participate in the Air Canada Race. On the flight from Toronto to Zurich, I purchased a Streaming Pass onboard the flight, which cost me $31.36.
On one of my return flights, I purchased a Browsing Pass, which cost $19.25.
A few years ago, I made use of a Streaming Pass en route from Vancouver to Melbourne, which cost me $36.96. I think this is very reasonable for the roughly 15-hour flight.
Complimentary Air Canada Wi-Fi Vouchers
Last year, I also received a number of complimentary Wi-Fi vouchers from TD for my TD Aeroplan Visa Infinite Card after making Aeroplan redemptions. These codes weren’t tied to any specific flight; rather, I could use them on any Air Canada flight in North America up until December 31, 2021.
Given that I didn’t have to pay a first-year annual fee on this card, the fact that I received seven free Wi-Fi codes came as solid added value. I’d be interested to see more promotions like this, or even perhaps some form of Wi-Fi access as a perk of a premium credit card, in the future.
Select Benefit for Aeroplan 75K & Super Elite Members
If this benefit is selected, a unique promo code will be generated. You don’t have to activate it right away, so it would make sense to wait until you’re flying to do so.
Once activated, this plan affords the user 12 months of Wi-Fi on any Gogo-equipped Air Canada flight. Note that there is a maximum of five unique devices per account.
Compared to the other options available for Select Benefits, choosing the Wi-Fi plan may make sense for someone who travels often and who values internet access when flying. If buying 12 separate monthly passes would cost around $800, then this benefit could be given a similar value.
This may not be as valuable as other Select Benefits, though.
For those who travel on paid tickets, having the 100% Aeroplan points bonus would pad their account balances nicely. Having an extra 50 eUpgrades could easily result in hundreds or thousands of dollars of savings for both cash and Aeroplan bookings.
Similarly, gifting Aeroplan 35K or 50K Status to a family member or person with whom you often travel could be a more valuable choice.
Personally, as someone who tends to travel on points, I’d select the eUpgrades as my first Select Benefit as a 75K or Super Elite member. Then, it would be a toss-up between the status gift and the Wi-Fi plan, depending on how often I plan to travel in a given year and how generous I’m feeling with a status gift.
How Good Is Air Canada Wi-Fi?
In my experience, I haven’t faced too many issues with dead spots or painfully slow speeds. I’m also not a heavy data user for uploading or downloading on flights, so perhaps my experience doesn’t give a full picture.
When working on a flight, I often tend to emails, make Aeroplan bookings, and browse social media and other websites. For these purposes, I’ve found the Gogo Wi-Fi on Air Canada flights to be entirely sufficient.
If you are someone who wants to download multiple Netflix series or play a video game, I’m not sure if onboard Wi-Fi is going to be able to handle it.
I’m sure there are many readers with opinions on Wi-Fi quality, so please feel free to leave a comment on this article if your experience has been similar to or different from mine.
Having Wi-Fi available on flights is an added feature for those who wish to remain connected at all times.
There are multiple options for travelling on Air Canada’s fleet of Wi-Fi-equipped planes, as well as promotions from co-branded credit cards offering free internet access on flights.
As someone who tends to like to work on flights, I appreciate the option of having quality Wi-Fi at my fingertips, when I want it. It’s also nice (and beneficial) to unplug, though, so encountering a flight without Wi-Fi wouldn’t necessarily break my heart.
Going forward, I’d love to see onboard Wi-Fi become a more accessible perk for engaged Aeroplan members, perhaps as a future benefit on the premium co-branded credit cards.