Free inflight internet on your laptop via GoGo, Alaska Airlines and T-Mobile

Wednesday, July 19th 2017

Enroute from FullStack in London to NEJS Conf in Omaha, Nebraska I was taking Alaska Airlines and decided to pay for internet access to catchup on some work. The novelty of surfing the web from 30,000 feet in the air has not worn off yet :)

I noticed they offered a free 1-hour option for T-Mobile customers when I viewed the connection screen on my phone. However, this option was not visible on my laptop where I do most my work.

GoGo connect screen on my laptop

Being the sort of person who likes a challenge and wonders how things are made I tried to see if I could get the free hour working on my laptop.

I'm happy to report I did!

Here's how I did it:

  • Open up a new incognito browser in Chrome.
  • Open up the developer tools and toggle the device toolbar. It will probably default to a mobile phone, but double-check and make sure you have some kind of mobile phone selected.
  • Go to the GoGo connection site: You should see the mobile version that (at the time of this writing) offers 1 free hour for T-Mobile customers.
  • Click on it and connect. It will prompt you for a phone number.
  • Eureka!

The incognito step is not strictly required, but I tried to visit the GoGo connection site prior to enabling the developer tools. It must have set a cookie or something that indicated I was not on a mobile device because, even though I was able to get to the T-Mobile sign-in screen, it gave me an error saying the free hour was only available for mobile devices.

I'd be curious to hear if other people have tips for circumnavigating airline wifi.