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Originally Published: Aug 04, 2021
Originally Published: Aug 04, 2021 Last Updated: Sep 28, 2021 4 min read
Close-up of a phone with the TikTok app open on an airplane
Money; Getty Images

Anyone who's ever been on TikTok knows how easy it is to lose time in the short-form video app. You start scrolling, watch a couple of videos and all of a sudden it's three hours later and you're still sitting in a towel on your bed.

But when you're on a plane, mindlessly passing the time is goal. And that's why American Airlines is now offering travelers free in-flight access to TikTok.

The carrier announced Monday that customers on certain aircraft (specifically, narrow-body planes outfitted with Viasat internet) can use TikTok for free for 30 minutes, no WiFi purchase required.

"Customers play the lead role in helping us better understand what content they want during their inflight experience," Clarissa Sebastian, managing director of premium customer experience and onboard products, said in a news release. "TikTok is one of the platforms they love on the ground, and we’re thrilled to work with Viasat to give customers free access to TikTok while they’re in the air, as well."

Here's how to take advantage: Next time you're on an American Airlines flight, put your phone on airplane mode and connect to "AA-Inflight." Once you're on aainflight.com, select the TikTok ad to open the app (or download it).

The service is linked to the planes' WiFi, which is available gate to gate — so you can begin browsing your #fyp as soon as you board the plane. After your free 30 minutes is up, you'll be redirected to American Airlines' internet portal and prompted to buy WiFi.

Offering free TikTok access is definitely a promotional gimmick, but it's likely to be a popular one. At last count, the social video service was rumored to have 732 million monthly active users worldwide.

Airlines are known for their in-flight entertainment, snacks, freebies and attempts to one-up each other. Canada's Porter Airlines offers all customers free beer and wine, while KLM Royal Dutch Airlines gives world business class passengers tiny Dutch houses. Bahrain's Gulf Air provides nannies for tired parents. Air New Zealand distributes free coloring books to kids.

The perks are arguably needed, given the current hellish state of air travel.

Travelers heading to the airport should be prepared for canceled flights, bad weather, high ticket prices, long security lines and drama around mask mandates as demand returns to pre-pandemic levels. Staffers aren't too happy, either: Unions for American Airlines pilots and flight attendants filed complaints this week alleging that the company isn't properly accommodating them with hotel rooms and ground transportation.

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