Back in September, T-Mobile announced that its customers would be able to text for free on GoGo flights, as long as they have a supported T-Mobile phone. I have the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and according to their site, this is a supported phone. I checked to make sure I have the latest version of Android installed for my phone, but I was still unable to connect. The only conclusion I can come up with is that because my Android phone is rooted, it’s not supported. My partner has the Samsung Galaxy S 4 which is not rooted, and he was able to connect just fine.

What is a rooted phone and do I need to worry? 

Rooting your Android phone is very similar to jailbreaking your iPhone, if you’ve heard of this terminology before. It’s basically gaining access to the operating system on your phone that the companies don’t want you to have access to. Once you have rooted your Android phone or jailbroken your iPhone, you can customize your phone further and install applications that normally wouldn’t be allowed. I won’t go into further detail since this isn’t a tech blog, but just note that if you do decide to venture down this path and give it a shot, you can completely ruin your phone. If your smartphone is not rooted, then you have nothing to worry about! Your supported T-Mobile phone should connect just fine to the GoGo in-flight wifi.

Steps to connect your T-Mobile phone to enjoy free texting while in the air

  1. Turn your WiFi on and connect to the GoGo in-flight signal.
  2. Open up your phone’s browser.
  3. You’ll be redirected to a page that asks if you want to pay for Internet. Click the T-Mobile banner instead to activate free texting.
TMobile GoGo free flight texting

This is what I saw on my screen when I pulled up my phone’s browser. There is supposed to be a T-Mobile banner on the bottom. I never got this banner when connecting.

For all the other tech enthusiasts I thought I’d warn you ahead of time. If you absolutely have to text on your flight, then you’re going to want to un-root your phone so you’ll be able to enjoy this feature. I wont have to worry about this much longer since I’m switching over to the iPhone 6 Plus (when Apple eventually gets more in stock). Overall this is a great feature to have and I’m glad T-Mobile supports it! When I’m out in SC visiting my parents, I can now text them when I’ll be landing so they won’t have to pay for parking when they come to pick me up.