Just here for the step-by-step instructions? Click here to skip the explanation
Gogo Inflight Internet Wireless is the sole provider of in-flight Wi-Fi in the United States -- and is already installed aboard planes in the domestic fleets of Delta, American and Virgin America.
While their service is awesome -- their pricing plans currently involve some fairly horribly discriminatory pricing. "Mobile" devices including iPhones, Nokia handsets and various Windows Mobile devices pay $7.95 for flights of any length, whereas laptops pay $9.95 or $12.95 based on the length of the flight.
Metered pricing is currently a hot topic in telecom circles, primarily due to the fact that the carriers want to be able to
Gogo does not implement metered pricing. iPhones and laptops are provided with the same amount of bandwidth, and as far as I can tell, neither receives priority over the other. There are no bandwidth caps, nor any additional charges for using too much data during a single flight. Gogo simply wants to be able to charge its customers more money for watching a YouTube video on a laptop screen than an iPhone -- even though that laptop does not put any more of a burden on Gogo's network than the iPhone.
This is unfair, unreasonable, and frankly, something that the FCC should look into and prohibit.
Luckily, Gogo doesn't have any verifiable way to identify the kind of device a customer is using, and so it has opted to rely upon the self-reported User Agent string transmitted by the on-device Web browser.
This browser string is something under the control of the user (at least those a little bit tech savvy), and by manipulating this information, it is possible to connect a laptop to the Gogo Inflight Internet Wireless system for the cheaper $7.95 price normally restricted to mobile devices.
Best of all, if combined with a discount coupon (easily found online), this price can be reduced further, to a quite reasonable $3.95 for a 5+ hour flight.
Enabling fair, non-discriminatory pricing for Gogo Inflight Internet Wireless
Gogo's acceptable use policy requires that consumers not use the service in order to "engage in any fraud or misrepresentation." As a result, the following information is provided for purely educational purposes as an act of communications policy related activism. Do not follow these steps without first consulting with a lawyer.
Step 1. Download and install the User Agent Switcher Firefox add-on (this needs to be done before your flight).
Step 2. Restart Firefox.
Step 3. Select the Tools-> User Agent Switcher -> Options -> Options menu.
Step 4. Select the User Agents tab, and then click on the "Add" button to create a new user agent.
Step 5. In the "Description" field, type in "iPhone"
Step 6. Now that you have added the new user agent, you have to tell the browser to start using it. Do so by going to Tools -> User Agent Switcher, and then select the new iPhone option.
Step 7. Once you are on board a Gogo enabled flight, wait till the plane is above 10,000 ft, and connect to the open gogoinflight wireless access point.
Step 8. Type in any web site address. You will be redirected to the Gogo portal, and will be prompted to pay for wireless access.
Step 9. You should see a $7.95 option for mobile Internet access for your flight.
Should you wish to save a few more bucks, Gogo seems to regularly offer discount codes, further bringing the price down.
Step 10. After you have paid for the service, and are connected to the Internet, you can switch the user-agent string back to the default Firefox setting.