I rarely fly on an airline that uses Gogo InFlight Wifi. However, recently I had no choice to fly on one of those airlines so I sprung for the Internet. First of all, Gogo Inflight is ridiculously over-priced. At more than $22 for a day pass, I about had a heart attack on the plane. This is nearly three times more than what Southwest charges.
That aside, @JohnLegere and his crew at @TMobile have managed to ink out a deal giving their customers free in-flight text messaging. There are a few caveats though. First, you need a phone that supports WiFi calling. The newest ones from T-Mobile do. However, the phone I unlocked and brought over from AT&T does not. Second, you have to have configured WiFi calling when you are on the ground and have made a phone call over WiFi calling at least once. You also need to have an E911 address on file (which you should have) with T-Mobile.
Once you are in-flight, you are ready to go. Take your plane out of Airplane Mode once you have reached 10,000 feet. This part threw me off because I just turned my WiFi off. You actually want to fully turn your phone on. Then connect to to the gogoinflight wireless network and choose T-Mobile Texting. Once you connect, you should be good to go. If it is taking a second, launch the WiFi calling app on your phone and it should connect. This experience will vary of course depending on the type of phone you have.
Once connected, you can send and receive text messages, picture messages, and even listen to your Visual Voicemail. The only thing you can’t do is make a phone call. Since Visual Voicemail works on it, you know that they could technically support phone calls over the WiFi network. However, I don’t blame them for blocking that. The last thing you want is someone taking business calls in the seat next to you.
If you are on T-Mobile, try it out on your next flight with Gogo.