Sunday, October 23, 2016

Getting free gogo wifi with a Chromebook (with a few gotchas)

If you didn't have enough reasons already to get a Chromebook, here's one more that you might not know about. Free inflight wifi. There are some gotchas that I'll go through in this blog post but simply owning a Chromebook gets you 12 free gogo inflight wifi passes.

Google has partnered with gogo wifi to provide free inflight wifi to some Chromebook owners.
I don't know all the conditions but I know that it works on my Dell Chromebook 3.

Below is the screenshot to prove it.

save image

The first time I tried it everything worked seamlessly. I opened my laptop connected to the network called gogoinflight and then I was informed that I was about to use 1 of my 12 available free passes.

But there was a problem.

This was a two leg flight so on the second leg I expected it to just work, but it didn't
Instead I was greeted with a screen which required me to pay (ugh!).

So I went without wifi for the second leg.

Diagnosing the problem

Flying back I was determined to figure out what was going on so I opened the chrome inspector and discovered that there were some cookies that persisted from my first trip, I don't know if this is a flaw in the implementation or just a fluke but it was preventing me from redeeming my free pass.

The fix

Based on my understanding of the problem, I needed launch a session that had no memory of previous cookies, so I opened an incognito browser. Magically all the machinery worked as expected after that, I was prompted to redeem my second gogo wifi pass and I was able to connect to the internet.

So now my new approach is as follows:

  • use an incognito window
  • start by visiting an unencrypted site (no https://)
With those two things I was able to quickly get wifi on my second leg of my return trip.


fulvio said...

I did not know about the 12 free passes! So I bought a pass in advance for both legs of my trip. However, when I signed in, I saw 4 available passes. Not sure why there weren't more, since I have not been on any flight since I got my Chromebook.
One downside: on Delta, at least, you can't use a Chromebook to watch the movies in the "delta studio". The video player is probably not compatible with chrome OS.

fulvio said...
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David Bain said...

I didn't try out the studio thing.

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