Should Passengers Get Compensation for No Wi-Fi?


Remember the days when you’d be excited if there was a movie on board? That made those interminable flights from Dallas to Hawaii in coach manageable. Today’s IFE has improved significantly (unless it’s Ethiopian 737 flying business from JNB-ADD). Besides movies and satellite TV, there’s semi-reliable WiFi which has come a long way. WiFi is so commonplace that travelers expect that it will be available. Since I’m a T-Mobile customer, I receive free GoGo service on Delta flights. This great perk is why I choose Delta even though multiple carriers offer direct flights between PHX and NYC.

Today, I boarded the plane and received the dreaded announcement that the WiFi was not working. My plans to write my next novel were thwarted. I was forced to watch CNN and sleep for the four hour duration of the flight.

This begs the question, should airlines compensate passengers when their website says that WiFi is available and it turns out that it wasn’t? Forget the terms and conditions that most assuredly say that they don’t guarantee service. Not everything has to be about the fine print. I’m saying as a matter of principle and as a way for airlines to do more to ensure that the WiFi is operational. Something, anything is better than the announcement, “We are sorry for the inconvenience.”

What do you think?


  1. I’m a DM/1M. If WiFi isn’t working, I usually show my ticket and ask the FAs for frequent flyer miles. Most give me 1,000 to 2,000. One of them gave everyone in my traveling party 5,000/each. If the FAs won’t do it, I send a comment to delta and almost always get 1,000 miles. It’s not a lot but they do add up.

  2. I’ve been given refunds from GoGo as well as mile compensation for inoperative WiFi. Got an option for miles or dollars (voucher) for an inoperative outlet at my seat, too. Love Twitter. 🙂

  3. I’ve received vouchers or miles from United several times (ranging between $75 to $150 vouchers and 5k to 7.5k miles) even though I wasn’t planning on spending the money to purchase a wifi pass, but it wasn’t working anyway so I complained through nonetheless. And I will continue to do so if it is not working.

  4. I think there should be something… If airlines give credit when seatback IFE doesn’t work, and they justify wifi for taking out seatback IFE, then it is not unreasonable to request something when the wifi doesn’t work. I don’t expect a lot, as the primary goal of arriving safely on time is fulfilled, but wifi is part of the product offering and it is too ubiquitous to claim it is subject or availability these days

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