The GOGO InFlight WiFi Free Google Holiday Internet Scam

Today I have a 3 hour flight from Minneapolis to San Francisco. It’s on Delta. I am only “Gold” status on Delta so I only get upgraded about 50% of the time on domestic flights, but I like flying Delta because they always have wifi on planes.

This year it’s even sweeter because Google is paying for it for you!!!! WOOT!!!! How awesome is that.

After takeoff when it was *safe* to use electronic devices, I saw about a dozen or so people pull out their laptops. I was seated near the back of the plane, so it was interesting to watch everyone lifting up their laptops, showing others around them their screen. Evidently everyone was getting “The Internet is full” screen.

I was quickly reminded of those idiots I used to do tech support for on Windows who would ask retarded questions like “It’s asking me if I am sure I want to delete THE INTERNET.” (you’re probably too young for that). I ignored them… mostly because I was easily able to connect to the internet from my iPhone. I just had to enter my *cough* real *cough* email address and then it asked me this retardedly long captcha (really, is this necessary?). But I was online.

About 20 minutes later I thought I would switch to my laptop. And here is what I got:

Hrmm, what the hell… OK, well that’s understandable, right? I mean, it’s free so they need to limit it. I will just pay for it (I also have a bunch of pre-paid GOGO inflight cards). HRMM, what’s this… only people who are paying subscriptions can bypass the line. GREAT… But wait, what’s this thing at the bottom about mobile devices?

Ohh… ok… so I can’t pay for daily access… or use any of my pre-paid cards… and I can’t access the in-flight wifi unless I want to pay for a year subscription. That only leaves one option. We have to figure out how to trick the system into thinking my laptop is a mobile device.

Before I explain how I achieved this (easily), lemme point out how GOGO is making out like a bandit.

  • Google is paying a shit-ton to GOGO for presumably the same if not more then GOGO would normally bring in for *sponsoring* this service.
  • The wifi is sponsored by Google Chrome… but only those on mobile devices can access it (and Chrome isn’t available to them).

So GOGO is getting paid by Google like a mofo and it appears they are only letting people on who are using mobile devices that are using a fraction of their resources and can’t even take advantage of what Google is advertising?  Amazing irony.

Ive been reading 2600 for so long that about 100 different ways to do this popped into my head.  The easiest (and least likely to work) was just to change the useragent.  So I opened Firefox and put in about:config into the address bar.  This lets you edit the configuration of your Firefox browser.

I looked for the useragent string and just replaced what was in there with “iPhone.”  I was fairly certain this would not work but what the hell…

Then I went to again… and it took me directly to entering my email to get started (like it did on my iPhone):

After the captcha page I was taken to the success page:

Notice how  it thinks I am using a mobile browser…. winnar!

Now I fire up Chrome and surf away:


Ok, now we are landing.  Sorry for typos… couple drinks on the plane.