Singapore Airlines is launching In-Flight Connectivity as part of a US$50 million program to bring Internet and mobile data services to customers, even when flying at 35,000 ft.
Following a recent soft launch on a limited number of aircraft, In-Flight Connectivity is today available on 14 aircraft in the fleet, including all five Airbus A340-500s which are deployed on the world’s longest non-stop flights, between Singapore and both Newark and Los Angeles. Services have also been extended to more markets such as Australia, for which regulatory approvals had not previously been obtained.
Travelers can surf the Internet, send and receive emails on smartphones and other electronic devices, and send and receive SMS text messages with GSM-compatible mobile phones. (Mobile data and text services not yet available on A380s).
Through a partnership with leading connectivity provider OnAir, the technology will be progressively rolled out across all of SIA’s long-haul Airbus A380-800, A340-500 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft over the next two years. Services are offered on routes on which equipped aircraft are deployed, subject to regulatory approvals from individual countries. A map highlighting availability when flying over specific countries is published in the Airline’s KrisWorld in-flight entertainment magazine.
Promotional price plans are also being introduced from today for wireless Internet access. The promotional prices, which will last until November 30, 2012, are US$25 for 30 megabytes of data and US$10 for 10 megabytes of data. The previous plans cost US$29.95 for 26 megabytes and US$11.95 for 10 megabytes.
A joint promotion with SingTel also enables SingTel subscribers to enjoy discounted roaming rates of up to 40 percent for in-flight text messaging and GPRS data services. The discounted roaming rates are displayed on SingTel’s corporate website and the joint promotion will last until 31 March 2013.
“As our customers’ preferences towards entertainment and connectivity options change over time, so must we. Mobile and Internet connectivity capabilities are just the start, enabling our customers to stay connected even when flying at 35,000ft. There will be much more investment in the months and years ahead to keep our customers both connected and entertained,” said SIA’s Senior Vice President Product & Services, Mr Tan Pee Teck. “We have always been a leader in embracing technology and are confident that these initiatives will both meet and exceed our customers’ high expectations, keeping us at the forefront of airline product innovation.”
In addition to the US$50 million investment in In-Flight Connectivity services, work is underway to bring the next generation of in-flight entertainment offerings to our customers. This will include the latest hardware systems with new screen and handset technology, in addition to much more video and audio content. Details are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.