Emirates now offers Wi-Fi service on 106 of its aircraft, with two to three more aircraft being installed with Wi-Fi connectivity every month. The first 10MB data is free, but paying a token charge of $1, users can enjoy additional 500MB of data.
Emirates continues to invest over US$20 million annually on installing and operating inflight connectivity systems which enable onboard Wi-Fi services. On Emirates’ ultra long-haul flights (over 14 hours), over 30% of passengers typically use Wi-Fi services, and on a recent flight to New York, 66% of passengers used onboard Wi-Fi.
Currently, Wi-Fi service is available on all of Emirates’ 59 Airbus A380 aircraft and 47 of its Boeing 777 aircraft. On over 60% of the installed fleet, the first 10MB data is free, just enough for a quick update on social media accounts or texting via instant messaging apps. Thereafter, and for the rest of the fleet, users can enjoy 500MB of data for a token $US 1 charge. By giving either free access or charging a token amount since last October, Emirates has seen a near fivefold increase in usage.
Besides offering Wi-Fi connectivity on all A380 flights, Emirates is in the process of converting all of its Boeing 777-300ERs and 777-200LRs to become Wi-Fi ready at the rate of two-to-three aircraft per month.
Due to current industrial technical limitations such as speed and bandwidth availability and the lack of advanced hardware and software support, the small token charge for additional data usage is required to keep the Wi-Fi service operational.