UAE National Flag carrier Emirates has announced that passengers in all classes can connect to some form of free Wi-Fi service once they sign up for the Emirates Skywards program.
Emirates announced the rollout of the increased connectivity in all classes on Friday 19 May 2023, enabling an additional 30,000 economy class passengers to connect to the complimentary Wi-Fi each week.
The only requirement is for the passenger to sign up for the airline’s loyalty programme, Emirates Skywards.
Members of the scheme will be able to enjoy some form of free connectivity. Regardless of the class of membership and class of cabin, members will be able to enjoy free app messaging.
First-class Skywards members, and Gold, Silver or Platinum members in Business class, will receive unlimited complimentary internet for the duration of the flight.
Providing more opportunities to work or surf. Added to that, Platinum Skywards members receive access to complimentary internet access in any cabin class.
The airline has seen a marked increase in users of its free onboard Wi-Fi service following changes in January of this year. On average, there are almost half a million users a month in 2023. This figure represents an increase of users of 30% compared to the same period in 2022.
Of all passengers, around 10% use the complimentary connection service. On fights through the Americas, 20% of passengers connect. Europe and Africa routes see over 11% of passengers use the connection service.
Patrick Brannelly, Emirates SVP Retail, IFE & Connectivity said: “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.
Emirates Skywards is reported to have more than 30 million members worldwide and is free to subscribe. The loyalty scheme has also won various international awards such as; Program of the Year in Europe, Middle East and Africa and Best Customer Service at the Frequent Traveller Awards 2021; World’s Leading Airline Rewards Programme at the World Travel Awards 2022; and ranked top 10 Best Frequent Flyer Program by USA TODAY 10 Best Readers’ Choice 2022.
The airline has also announced that its new Airbus A350 aircraft fleet will offer passengers connection via its new high-speed in-flight broadband service. The service, powered by Inmarsat’s GX Aviation, is reported to be the world’s first and only globally available broadband network.
The service, the airline states, will ensure passengers will see uninterrupted network access on any route and to any destination, including across the North Polar regions.
Emirates is also investing a sum of over 350 million USD to equip the new A350s with new in-flight entertainment equipment provided by Thales’ AVANT Up system and Optiq.
These systems will offer Emirates passengers the chance to use the first smart display in the industry to provide two Bluetooth connections, built-in Wi-Fi for passengers for pairing of multiple devices including (including headphones and game controllers) and also allow up to 60 watts of charging to personal devices via a USB-C port.
The new Airbus A350 aircraft will start to enter service in 2024.
The airline reported it has already invested over 300 million USD in its onboard connectivity systems, as it strives to remain at the forefront of inflight Wi-Fi developments.
“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 added.