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Turkish Airlines Introduces Free Inflight Messaging

Previously limited to premium passengers, all Turkish Airlines passengers will soon be able to use free onboard Wi-Fi and messaging services

by Lauren Smith

April 13, 2023

Stelia Aerospace Opal seats offer enhanced privacy thanks to co-cooned high walls and staggered seating / Photo: Courtesy of Turkish Airlines

Passengers onboard Turkish Airlines flights will soon be able to harness on-board Wi-Fi to send free text messages while in the air.

While previously, Turkish Airlines has limited free internet access to its premium cabins, under the new offer, customers in economy class will also be able to send “free and limitless” messages from cruising altitude.

The perk is technically only available to members of the airline’s Miles&Smiles loyalty program. However, membership is free, and you can register before or during your flight.

Photo: Courtesy of Javier Cañada / Unsplash

Once signed up, passengers can use their cell phones to connect to plane Wi-Fi and send messages, free of charge, through clients such as WhatsApp, iMessage, and Facebook Messenger.

Turkish Airlines hasn’t confirmed whether photo and video messages will be permitted. But inflight bandwidth is limited, and it wouldn’t be surprising for the carrier to limit the messaging offer to text.

The free messaging service will launch on aircraft with internet access provided by Turk Telekom before being rolled out across all Turkish Airlines with Wi-Fi capability.

Turkish Airlines CEO Bilal Ekşi said, “We are adding another innovative development to the countless improvements we made for Türkiye’s aviation sector as the national flag carrier.”

The airline’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner / Photo: Courtesy of Turkish Airlines

“By combining our innovative approach with customer satisfaction, we are ensuring our passengers will be able to freely message their loved ones above clouds, staying in contact with them without any limits.”

Premium customers will continue to benefit from “enhanced free internet packages” onboard some Turkish Airlines flights. All Business Class passengers receive 1GB of free Wi-Fi, and those who are Miles&Smiles Elite or Elite Plus members have unrestricted free internet.

Miles&Smiles Elite or Elite Plus members in economy class receive 400MB of free internet plus unrestricted messaging, and Miles&Smiles Classic Plus members get 250MB and free messaging.

The usual caveats about in-flight Wi-Fi apply: connections may come and go, and bandwidth is limited. You may find even text messages are sent and received at slow speeds, especially if your fellow passengers are also trying to chat with their friends down below and arrange rides from the airport.

While on-board Wi-Fi may still be spotty and slow from some airlines, free inflight messaging for all passengers is an increasingly popular on-board service offered by carriers including Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines.