You can usually check to see if your flight has Wi-Fi ahead of time, but that doesn't always mean it will work very well. If you assume you won't have it, you'll be able to prepare ahead of time and lay out a plan for a very productive flight.
Photo by Anthony Quintano.
These days, it seems like internet is an absolute necessity for getting work done, but work can still happen in between network connections. Nina Zipkin at Entrepreneur explains that a spotty aeroplane Wi-Fi connection doesn't have to mean lost hours:
When you're going through your to-do list, make sure you download all the documents you need ahead of time and set aside work you can do without being connected, like writing emails to send once you land.
Open up browser tabs and emails in the airport before you board too. Even if you do end up with decent internet on your flight, you'll have organised a streamlined work plan that will help you get your stuff done faster. You may even buy enough time to catch a few Z's or watch a movie. If you always plan for the worst case scenario, everything else is just a perk.
10 Tips for being Super Productive on Your Next Flight [Entrepreneur]