Apps That Work Without Paying For In-Flight Wi-Fi

Apps That Work Without Paying For In-Flight Wi-Fi

In-flight Wi-Fi is a very handy option when you’re travelling overseas, but it doesn’t come cheap. Erica Ho at Map Happy found that many Google apps, as well as a few others, work on your smartphone without paying once you’re connected to the Wi-Fi network on the plane.

Image from microsiervos

Erica explains:

The caveat that I’ve found is that there’s limited functionality at best so in order to get notifications you have to go into the app itself to get the update.

The apps that work are:

  • Gmail
  • Google Voice (sending and receiving)
  • Google Drive
  • Google Maps
  • Google Hangouts
  • Google Plus
  • Google Translate
  • Google Image Search
  • Google AdSense
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search from phone search bar
  • Amazon music (only music in playlist will stream)
  • Airline app

For more information on Erica’s testing method check out her full post, linked below. It’s not a perfect solution, but if you just want to check email, it’s worth trying before you pay.

Apps That Work without Having to Pay for In-flight Wifi [Point Princess via Map Happy]


  • I am looking forward to testing these features on an in flight WiFi connection. Do you know of all/any airline carriers that have inflight WiFi connections? Especially for international flights.

  • I’ve got my own weirdness to report from the Sydney CBD. Left a phone (sans SIM) plugged in overnight with no open wifi connections around (there are usually 2 cafes that offer free wifi during the day but they turn it off at night — and both had turned it off before staff went home that day). There are a bunch of WPA2 and such protected wifi connections I cannot get anywhere near, a Telstra CBD one that is NOT WPA2 protected but which always times out when I try to connect to it, and a couple others that are not protected but which I also cannot browse through, if I try to do so by connecting manually. Got up in the morning, and gmail’s telling me I have 143 new email messages, a new version of Android, someone’s invited me to a Google hangout, etc. IE, my phone found SOME WAY to phone home to Google servers despite the apparent lack of public wifi.

    This seems to happen every time I leave my phone on, without SIM, at home. I appreciate the bandwidth savings. 🙂

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