Emirates now offers free inflight WiFi in business, first class

By David Flynn, June 14 2017

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.

David
David

David Flynn

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.

sgb

sgb

Emirates Airlines - Skywards

30 Nov 2015

Total posts 745

marvelous news.

JRS

JRS

25 Feb 2017

Total posts 6

It's only good if you can get a usable connection speed. On the majority of flights I've had with Emirates, that impossible.

traveller99

traveller99

18 Nov 2015

Total posts 105

I agree.  The Wi-Fi is useless.  I flew Sydney to Dubai, then Dubai to London (different planes).  Both flights the Wi-Fi was utterly useless on a laptop or tablet.  Only the most basic email usage on my phone worked (ie not attachments in or out).

moa999

moa999

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1374

But increasing the price for economy pax for 500Mb from $1 to $16 should help reduce demand

Nburgess31

Nburgess31

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 May 2017

Total posts 10

So would your Emirates Skywards frequent flyer need to be associated with your business and first ticket?  Some people would have their own airline FF program on the ticket. 

alex_upgrade77

alex_upgrade77

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

08 Sep 2012

Total posts 244

Good point but I doubt it

Brackenboy

Brackenboy

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

18 Sep 2015

Total posts 12

The article says " (your Qantas Frequent Flyer number gets no recognition here)".

mern2001

mern2001

Qantas - WP Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Apr 2013

Total posts 42

I was wondering the same thing as Nbrugess31. I am flying on an EK flight to DXB, but the flight number has the QF tag and my FF scheme is listed as QF on the booking. While I am a member of Skywards, I think that my booking needs to have the Skywards number linked with it rather than my QF FF number. So, I may miss out of the free internet..

James Barker

James Barker

13 Sep 2016

Total posts 36

A very smart move by Emirates, rewarding those travellers who are serious customers and pay the higher fares by giving them not only free Internet but a usable service.

aggie57

aggie57

QF

04 Apr 2014

Total posts 148

interesting. How, I wonder, will the system will know if you're in economy or business?  Seems to suggest they can link the system to the passenger manifest, else do you simply need to enter a non-economy seat number or some such thing?  I can't imagine they have the ability to physically separate access when an economy passenger can be seated immediately behind someone in business. 

BrisbanePE

BrisbanePE

02 Dec 2016

Total posts 30

They don't need to know if you are in Econ or Business, they will use the Skywards login to determine that.

fatty

fatty

24 Feb 2015

Total posts 19

Correct - it appears that it will use your Skywards number and match it to the booking. I use my QF number on EK so looks like I'll be missing out. There must be a better way?

MEL Traveller

MEL Traveller

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Dec 2014

Total posts 55

I found out the hard way on a flight last night that you have to be on an Emirates ticket to get the free internet. I was in Business on a QF ticket and when I entered my Skywards number it said it wasn't associated with a ticket on this flight and I should sign in as a guest. So for me this is a bg downgrade from the old $1 for 500 MB. 

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