Following a recent upgrade to Emirates’ in-flight internet, all Emirates passengers in all classes of travel can now enjoy complimentary connectivity provided they sign up for Emirates Skywards. Every week, an additional 30,000 Economy Class customers connect to complimentary onboard Wi-Fi as a result of this option.
Emirates has constantly been at the forefront of inflight Wi-Fi developments and has to date invested more than US$ 300 million dollars into onboard connectivity.
All Emirates Skywards members in every class of travel can now enjoy some form of free connectivity. Skywards members, whether Blue, Silver, Gold, or Platinum tier, travelling in any class, whether Economy, Premium Economy, Business or First Class will enjoy free app messaging. Additionally, First Class passengers will have unlimited free internet if they are Skywards members, enabling them to shop or work online while inflight, as will Silver, Gold and Platinum Skywards members travelling in Business Class. Platinum Skywards members have complimentary internet access in all classes.
The increase in free connectivity has been very well received by Emirates’ passengers following changes in January 2023 and the airline today sees an average of 450,000 users per month. This represents a 30% increase of passenger use in 2023 versus the same period last year. Currently almost 10% of all passengers are utilising the complimentary onboard Wi-Fi. On routes through the Americas, almost 20% of passengers connect to Wi-Fi onboard, and on European and Africa routes the usage is over 11% of all passengers.
Patrick Brannelly, SVP Retail, IFE & Connectivity commented: “Emirates has persistently worked with our service providers to optimise and improve the connectivity experience. In March we delivered about 55% more data per customer session compared to early 2022 despite the number of sessions increasing by 68% in the same period. 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.”
Emirates has also announced that it will provide new high-speed in-flight broadband powered by Inmarsat’s GX Aviation aboard 50 new Airbus A350 aircraft, which are slated to start service in 2024. With increased connection and global coverage, including flights across the Arctic, the new agreement will greatly improve the passenger experience. The Airbus A350s will be the first Emirates aircraft to use Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network, which powers the world’s first and only globally available broadband network, ensuring passengers have continuous global connectivity no matter where they travel, including to the North Pole. The advanced high-speed capabilities of the broadband will enable Emirates passengers to stay connected with family and friends, browse the internet, and enjoy social media, all from the comfort of their seat. Emirates also confirmed an investment of over US$ 350 million to equip a 50-strong fleet of A350s coming in 2024 with enhanced passenger connectivity via Thales’ AVANT Up system and Optiq – the first smart display in the industry to offer two Bluetooth connections, built-in Wi-Fi for passengers to pair multiple devices including phones, tablets, headphones or even game controllers, while supporting up to 60 watts USB-C to fast-charge personal devices.