The ability to board a plane and shut off from the world is a luxury in an always-on world of technology. Or so it used to be. Airlines across the world are increasingly offering free on-board wi-fi, or at somewhat affordable prices.
Domestically, it was once an offering on Air New Zealand flights when it launched its Rugby World Cup branded A320s in 2011 (at a trial rate of a whopping $20 per megabyte). Quietly, and presumably because the trial was a flop, in-flight wi-fi disappeared within months and has never returned – not even on the new international 787-9 Dreamliners.
How surprising that people don’t want to pay $20,000 a GB!!!
Qantas in Australia experienced similar disappointment. In 2012 it conducted trials of wi-fi (at prices ranging between $14 and $43, depending on pre-purchased data allowance), but less than 5 per cent of customers used the service. It seems now, though, that New Zealand and Australia’s national airlines are falling behind.
In late 2014, Emirates launched free on-board wi-fi for the first 10MB (enough to check emails and social media accounts), with a nominal US$1 (NZ$1.35) fee for the next 600MB. This includes some flights in and out of New Zealand, such as the daily Auckland-Sydney A380 flights.
That’s not bad.
Eventually, Emirates will offer wi-fi as a free and standard in-flight service, much like its on-board entertainment selection.
Emirates reported a daily average of 3500 global connections across all of its flights last October, with the highest number of users on a single flight being 153 passengers.
Shows there is demand for it at the right price.Tags: Air New Zealand, Emirates, wifi