Emirates(EK) have launched inflight WiFi connectivity on its Airbus A380s. The services will start on 11 out of 19 A380s currently in service.
All new aircraft will come with the OnAir inflight WiFi service, as it’s introduced across the entire 71 aircraft on order.
The service can be accessed by passengers using their WiFi-enabled devices, including smartphones, tablets and laptops.
All passengers have to do is open up their device’s wireless connections, log on to the OnAir network and follow the simple steps to access the internet.
In addition to WiFi, from mid-2012 all new Emirates A380s will also deliver mobile phone and mobile data services.
Prices start at $7.50 for mobile use up to 5MB, rising to $15 for 25MB, while laptop prices begin at $15 for 25MB, rising to $25 for 100MB. The $7.50 package should be sufficient for the average BlackBerry user to stay connected all the way from Dubai to Paris.
Emirates currently has 91 aircraft equipped with the Aeromobile mobile phone service, having introduced it in 2008, with the number of users exceeding 8.7 million.
While this new service will enhance the ancillary revenue Emirates earns in flight they estimate that only 4% of their passengers will use the service as their passengers already have many ways to enjoy the flight, including an outstanding inflight entertainment (IFE) system called ice (information, communication, entertainment).
The use of mobile phone services is one of the major debating points in the industry. A majority of passengers remain concerned by the noise and many business passengers prefer to be out of contact onboard.
Perhaps a new ancillary revenue stream is to charge for seats without the connectivity!