It is great to see more airlines are adding free inflight Wi-Fi for passengers. This is following the trend on the ground where you can get online just about everywhere at no cost.
Considering the price of flight tickets, it’s very on the nose to then be charged additional fees for Internet access, particularly when it sometimes doesn’t work due to weather conditions or the area you’re flying through. Having to faff around with refunds for chump change is never fun.
Who Recently Added Free Inflight Wi-Fi?
Singapore Airlines have decided to extend its Internet offering to all passengers for free. The only restriction is that customers in premium economy or economy class will need to be members of the KrisFlyer frequent flyer programme. That frequent flyer number needs to be in your booking for the unlimited service to work. First and business class don’t need to worry about that, of course.
Malaysia Airlines have just added what they call MHConnect, which is free Wi-Fi for selected premium customers. Specifically, those seated in Business Suite, Business Class and Enrich Platinum frequent flyers will get up to 100MB complimentary data. This isn’t earth shattering by any means and lags far behind what other airlines offer, but it’s a start.
Which Other Airlines Offer Free Inflight Internet?
In Australia, Qantas offer the service for free when travelling domestically to all passengers. It is not yet available at all internationally, though it will be. Across the Tasman Sea, Air New Zealand have the same thing, but on both international and domestic services.
JetBlue started the free inflight Wi-Fi trend in the United States and they offer their “Fly-Fi” free to all passengers on all services, both domestic and international. Delta Air Lines offer the service free domestically and plan to offer it free on international services from 31 December 2024.
Ireland’s Aer Lingus offer Wi-Fi on their transatlantic flights, and it is free for business class passengers and AerClub Concierge level frequent flyers, however all other people must pay. Spain’s Iberia offer free messaging for all passengers, as long as they are flying business class or are a member of Iberia Plus. For anything more, you must pay.
Others that have it include Finnair (time limited for most people, but on all services), United (free messaging only, like Iberia, but pay for the rest), Turkish Airlines (free with limits), and Japan’s ANA (free for first class only).
Airlines seem to be at the tipping point where hotels once were. Some hotels charged for Internet access, some hotels gave it for free and as time passed they all dropped the charges. It will go the same way with airlines.
Having free inflight Internet is becoming a necessity, and with the news that Singapore Airlines is offering it free across the board, perhaps that dam has finally broken. Nickle and diming passengers for Wi-Fi is likely more hassle than it’s worth and for major carriers is ridiculous for passengers after having shelled out a wad of cash for the ticket.
For frequent flyers, it’s even worse having to pay, especially since you’re presumably sending a lot of money to that airline anyway. Which one of the Wi-Fi dominoes will fall next? None of the major European players (British Airways, Lufthansa, Air France, KLM) offer free Wi-Fi yet, nor do certain other airlines like American Airlines. With the competition offering it, you can be certain they will, it’s just a matter of when.
What do you think of free inflight Internet? Would you choose a different airline based on being able to get online for nothing? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.
Featured image by RussellHarryLee on Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.
Malaysia Airlines by Anna Zvereva and Air New Zealand by John Taggart, both via Wikimedia Commons.
JetBlue by Adam Moreira via Wikimedia Commons.
Finnair by BriYYZ on Flickr via Wikimedia Commons.