Emirates now offering in-flight Internet on all Airbus A380s

By David Flynn, March 27 2012
Emirates now offering in-flight Internet on all Airbus A380s

Let's start with the good news. You can now use in-flight Internet on any Emirates Airbus A380, including all flights to and from Australia, following the completion of a fleet-wide rollout by technology provider OnAir.

Travellers can now connect their smartphone, tablet or laptop to wireless hotspots dotted around all 21 of Emirates' superjumbos and tap into a satellite Internet service, with prices ranging from US$7.50 to US$25.

The cheapest plan gives you 5MB of data for US$7.50, and is mainly aimed at the BlackBerry set due to the Berry's highly-efficient email compression.

US$15 gets you a mobile plan with 25MB of data, which is better suited to iPhones and Android smartphones as well as casual tablet use.

The top US$25 plan is aimed at 'heavy users' wanting to chew up 100MB in flight on their laptop or tablet.

However, access isn't be bundled into first or even business class tickets – every passenger has to pay, even if you're perched in first class.

All future Emirates A380s – of which there are a massive 69 still on order – will also be kitted out for wireless Internet.

Emirates and OnAir have shared some interesting stats regarding sky-high surfing.

  • 52% of people logging onto Emirates' in-flight Internet do so with a smartphone, while 48% use a tablet or laptop
  • average data consumption per user is slightly below 20MB
  • the bulk of usage is focused on social media, news and travel related sites (such as hotel, taxi and restaurant bookings)
  • passengers typically use the Internet during the first half of the flight
  • the time of the flight has a significant impact, with 73% of usage being during the daytime
  • the length of the flight also has an impact, with 84% of usage on flights of over three hours

Now for what may be not-so-good news: stage two of the system will fit the A380s with mobile phone cells, starting July, enabling passengers to make calls on their phone.

While that facility's been available through in-seat handsets for some time, we're wondering if the ability to use your own phone will see an increase in annoyingly nattering seatmates.

Keep up to date with the latest news for Australian business travellers and frequent flyers: tune into @AusBT on Twitter.

Other Australian Business Traveller stories on in-flight Internet

First-hand review: Qantas Airbus A380 in-flight WiFi Internet

Cathay Pacific to begin trials of inflight Internet mid-year on Boeing 747

Virgin America in-flight Internet: the shape of flights to come?

Virgin Australia: streaming WiFi movies & music for tablets, laptops – up next, Internet


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

This is great news for both passengers and the airlines. Imagine the revenue the airlines will earn providing this service? It's like a restauranteur once explained to me, you always try to sell wine to the customers because thats an extra $40-$60 ontop of the bill and you dont have to do anything, no cooking, just open the bottle and pour.

This goes with the wireless internet inflight, no physical service needs to be provided, just an internet connection.

Plus I really hate being on a flight for 14-16 hours and not being able to check my emails and respond to work stuff.

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2539

Definitely agree! In-flight Internet will be a boon to business travellers who want to – need to – stay in touch while in the air. There've been several times that I've spent hours on a flight working on a story but needed Net access to check some information and then file it, and it would have been great to have that all done and sent before I landed, instead of having to spend the first hour or so of time in the hotel doing this when I'd rather just crash!

Yes I "hate" to be the person is always working, checking my emails but thats life, just because you board a 14-16 hour flight doesn't mean other people stop working.

And its actually a good thing for me to do some work on the long flight, there is only so many movies I can watch before i go nuts and start counting down the time to destination.

Plus you are right, once I get to my destination i dont want to run to the nearest hotel or find the wifi hotspot to connect to and respond to the 20-40 emails waiting for me since I have been offline for 14 hours. When I get to my destination, I want to do other things.


04 Nov 2010

Total posts 670

Count me in on the 'hate to have to work when I FINALLY get to my hotel' club. After all that time in transit, at the lounge and in the air and then from airport to hotel I just want to take a shower, order room service (or hit the hotel bar from a nightcap or two) and maybe even go for a walk around the hotel and check out the local area. I DON'T want to have to plug in my notebook, sometimes hassle with the hotel's Internet and then send & receive stacks of email while trying to finish off work. As soon as you sit down in front of the laptop, bang, there goes an hour of your time!

Its $US15 for 25MB and $US25 for 100MB, and charged per sector.

I guess i'll have use webmail to scan my emails because its definately not practical for downloading large files, which would consume 25MB in a heartbeat.


03 Nov 2011

Total posts 35

That is shockingly expensive - like buying food at the movies....sigh....so there goes my idea to use VNC for remote workstation use in-flight. let's just hope no one sends me a 7MB email at least.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Sep 2011

Total posts 180

Emails and working ok, see the benefit.  But the ability to use VoIP systems is a serious pain in the backside.  It used to be heaven knowing that one could get away from people jabbering away on their phones endlessly when boarding an aircraft.  Now the last quiet area of life is to be desecrated. Also, how many cashed up bogans will be spending some money just to call their mates shouting "yeah mate, I'm on the plane"???? 

Also, to all workaholics.  Please consider the people sat next to you, who may be trying to sleep, when you have the brightness on your laptop set to maximum and you are banging away on your keyboard emailing the latest focus group initiative within your organisation.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

05 Jan 2012

Total posts 335

Agree with you 100%. the flight attendants will have a full time handing out dummies to get people to be quiet. When you are on an aircraft, you buy your own personal space. Problem is, it doesnt stop everything invading your own personal space... light, noise etc


15 Apr 2011

Total posts 580

Great news - can't wait for the day when we look back and shake our heads at how primative these systems are though! Bring on the super cheap, super fast, unlimited data services that we are bound to see appearing within the next 10 years...

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