Wireless inflight Internet is now free across the bulk of Emirates’ Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 fleet, with each passenger getting 10MB of data at no cost.
Want more data? Just $1 – yes, a single dollar – will land you a solid 600MB.
And Emirates isn't stopping there, with the airline promising “to eventually enable passengers to have unlimited free access to Wi-Fi” at 35,000 feet.
“We’ve always viewed Wi-Fi as a service and a value-added part of Emirates’ overall product, rather than a revenue stream,” said Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates.
“Ultimately, we believe that on-board Wi-Fi will become a free service, and a standard that customers will expect on a full service airline, just like on-board refreshments and personal inflight entertainment.”
Currently, all 53 A380s in Emirates’ fleet are kitted up as giant Internet hotspots, while 28 of EK’s 142-strong Boeing 777 aircraft also have on-board connectivity.
The airline is also spending US$20 million each year to retrofit its entire fleet with Wi-Fi – including onto other aircraft types such as the Airbus A330.
Emirates' on-board Wi-Fi: 500,000 users and growing
Emirates first launched inflight Internet access in 2011, with over half a million passengers using the facility throughout the past three years.
The airline expects the demand for sky-high surfing to increase “exponentially”, although notes that the initial free 10MB allowance isn’t available on a small number of its Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft.
Last month roughly 3,500 passengers used Emirates’ on-board Wi-Fi service each day, with the average user downloading 28MB between take-off and touchdown.
Emirates' record? 8GB transmitted in a single flight
The highest number of Wi-Fi users recorded on a single Emirates flight was 153 passengers on an Airbus A380, while the greatest internet volume recorded on a single EK flight was nearly 8GB from just 26 users aboard a Boeing 777.
According to the airline, the sites its passengers most frequently access in the sky include Google, Facebook, and chat services Skype, WhatsApp and BlackBerry Messenger, with 10MB of data more than enough for the obligatory social media check-in.
Sir Tim Clark added: “If we can offer good quality Wi-Fi connections for everyone on-board at no charge tomorrow, we will do it.”
All of Emirates' flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide to Dubai are operated by Airbus A380s or Boeing 777s, as are its trans-Tasman flights and services from Australia's east coast to Singapore, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.
More on inflight Internet:
- United to retrofit Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners with inflight Internet
- Review: Etihad inflight Internet
- Telstra tests 4G inflight Internet for Sydney-Melbourne route
- Internet access now available on all Etihad Boeing 777 flights
- Review: Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 inflight Internet
- Qantas scrubs plans for inflight Internet
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About Chris Chamberlin
Chris lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, an opera ticket and a glass of wine!