Emirates Airlines now offers free inflight wifi connectivity for all passengers on board its scheduled flights. This is great news for those who rely heavily on being connected to keep up with what is happening around us and in our lives. With cell phones and digital devices being essential “appendages” for many people, the problem arises when one has a functional device but no wifi connectivity. However, one requirement must be met to qualify for the free inflight internet connectivity: passengers must be members of the airline’s loyalty programme, Skywards.
RISING WIFI USAGE
Emirates reports that almost 10% of its passengers take advantage of the complimentary onboard wifi, with an average of 450,000 free wifi users per month – 30% more than last year. “In March, we delivered about 55% more data per customer session compared with early 2022, despite the number of sessions increasing by 68% in the same period,” says Patrick Brannelly, Senior Vice President of Retail, In-flight Entertainment & Connectivity at Emirates.
WIFI FOR MEMBERS
All Skywards members (whether Blue, Silver, Gold or Platinum), whether travelling in economy, premium economy, business or first class, may connect inflight. These passengers will be able to make use of free app messaging on WhatsApp, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Line and Viber. Economy-class passengers will be able to send text messages while onboard – as long as they have signed up as Skywards members. Passengers can even sign up while onboard flights.
First-class passengers have unlimited free Internet if they are Skywards members, as do Silver, Gold and Platinum Skywards members travelling in business class. Platinum Skywards members have complimentary Internet access in all classes.
RAMPING UP WIFI
Emirates said it would offer new high-speed inflight broadband powered by Inmarsat’s GX Aviation on 50 of its new Airbus A350 aircraft, which are set to enter service next year. “We will continue to work to invest in upgrades and enhancements, and our A350 aircraft will arrive with the next generation of satellite connectivity already equipped,” Brannelly said. Emirates Airlines has invested over $300 million (R5.78 billion) in onboard connectivity.