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Emirates is shaking up its inflight Internet plans to include "unlimited free WiFi" for business class and first class passengers, although the service will cost more if you're sitting in economy.
The Gulf carrier previously gave all passengers 10MB of free access to its satellite Internet system, with each additional 500MB of data available for just US$1.
While this generous arrangement proved very popular with travellers – Emirates is said to have some 750,000 people connecting every month – the downside is that the available bandwidth is quickly gobbled up so that the connection becomes almost unusable until the bulk of passengers log off to watch a movie, eat or sleep.
This changes as of June 14, 2017, with a spokesperson for Emirates confirming to Australian Business Traveller a revised pricing scheme as follows:
- economy passengers will now get 20MB of free WiFi to sate their immediate social media needs, although this has to be used without two hours of their connecting
- business class and first class passengers who are also members of Emirates Skywards frequent flyer scheme will receive unlimited free WiFi by entering their Skywards membership number at the login screen
- economy passengers will be able to buy an additional 150MB of WiFi for US$9.99 (A$13.50) with a meatier 500MB priced at US$15.99 (A$22)
If you're travelling in Emirates first class and business class cabins but don't belong to Skywards, you'll have to pay the same rates as those in economy – while you can sign up to Skywards on the spot, your membership won't be recognised until your next Emirates flight (your Qantas Frequent Flyer number gets no recognition here).
Given that Skywards is free to join, it makes sense to sign up right away if you have an Emirates flight coming up.