Use these tricks to connect to hotel, airline, and airport Wi-Fi networks
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated. This post was originally published on 2 August 2019.
Whether you’re trying to preserve your cell phone data or get online while in flight, connecting to Wi-Fi networks seems to be a constant task when travelling. And this either requires figuring out the correct router name and password or entering a passphrase and/or accepting terms and conditions on a log-in page.
If it’s the latter, figuring out how to get to the Wi-Fi log-in page can be the biggest hurdle to getting back online. What if I told you there’s a shortcut to figuring out the log-in portal? For the past few years, I’ve been using a single URL to prompt the portal log-in page for Wi-Fi routers around the world. And it’s a URL that I highly recommend that you save on your browser(s) of choice:
As this site isn’t secured with HTTPS protocol, your browser will let it redirect to the Wi-Fi log-in page, and it’s never failed to work during my constant travels, at least using a Windows laptop. The only downside is that using this URL redirects to the MSN homepage if you’re already connected to the internet.
If you’re looking for alternative websites to try, Zapier suggests the following:
- Apple iOS and macOS: captive.apple.com
- Microsoft Windows: www.msftncsi.com/ncsi.txt
- Google Android and Chrome: google.com/generate_204
For airlines specifically, you’ll want to try browsing directly to the Wi-Fi log-in page:
- American Airlines:
- British Airways: shop.ba.com
- Delta: deltawifi.com
- United: unitedwifi.com
- Alaska: AlaskaWiFi.com
- JetBlue: flyfi.com
- Southwest: southwestwifi.com
If you find yourself trying to connect to an airline Wi-Fi network and don’t have any of these URL saved or memorised, try browsing to a variety of different sites until your browser redirects to the log-in page.
For example, when one TPG staffer struggled to prompt the Wi-Fi landing page when flying AA recently, the flight attendant had a memorable suggestion to prompt the portal login page: go to Disney.com.
I just so happened to be flying AA hours after I learned about this tip, so I put it to the test. Sure enough, entering “disney.com” into my web browser brought up ViaSat’s log-in page. Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi was broken on this flight.
Is there something special about Disney’s website? Well, no. I tested a number of other websites to see if they would redirect as well. Google.com, CNN.com and Fox.com, Apple.com and IBM.com, FAA.gov, and yes ThePointsGuy.com all redirected to the ViaSat log-in page just as Disney.com did. However, some other websites (Google Flights, Delta, United, Southwest) didn’t automatically redirect.
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