Emirates was one of the first airlines worldwide to make inflight WiFi widely accessible to travellers with enticing $1 plans, although the resulting high number of users often reduced speeds to a snail’s pace.
The carrier has since revamped its onboard internet offerings to offer a higher quality connection. But even if you don’t want to pony up for a plan, there are still ways to keep in touch with colleagues or loved ones for free, onboard just about any Emirates flight.
This Executive Traveller guide to Emirates WiFi has all the information you need to stay up to date with the airline’s inflight internet service.
Does Emirates have inflight WiFi?
Yes, Emirates offers sky-high WiFi on practically every flight. Both complimentary access and paid plans are available.
Which Emirates flights have WiFi?
Emirates’ whole fleet is outfitted with inflight internet. No matter whether you are travelling on an Airbus A380 or a Boeing 777, you should be able to browse online while at cruising altitude, bar any technical malfunctions or while flying over restricted zones.
Scheduled to enter service in 2024, the Gulf carrier’s latest Airbus A350 aircraft will also feature high-speed internet access, in the form of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network.
How much does Emirates WiFi cost?
Paid WiFi plans on Emirates costs vary depending on your Skywards membership tier, travel class and your route.
As a guide, the available plans are:
- Unlimited chat: Connect free to all your favourite text apps (WhatsApp, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Line or Viber) for the whole flight
- WiFi for the whole flight: USD $9.99 (AUD $14.50) - USD $19.99 (AUD $29) depending on the length of the flight
- Easy connect - available in selected regions: USD $9.99 (AUD $14.50) for 30 minutes with no data limit
Does Emirates have free WiFi?
Yes, Emirates has two forms of free WiFi, though both are only available to Emirates Skywards members.
The first option is free unlimited chat, which allows Emirates Skywards Blue members travelling in business class or Emirates Skywards Gold members travelling in economy to use WhatsApp, Messenger and other text services for free.
For those wanting to access free WiFi for the whole flight, the requirements are as follows:
- Passengers travelling in first and business class receive unlimited free WiFi for all Skywards members (Blue, Silver, Gold, Platinum)
- In economy passengers, Skywards Gold and Platinum members only receive unlimited free WiFi
To take advantage of this offer, you must have your Skywards number linked to the booking at least 24 hours before take-off. Onboard, you’ll use your membership number and password to log-in.
How fast is Emirates WiFi?
Emirates WiFi speed depends on various factors, the most significant being the number of users connected at one time. Executive Traveller previously ran speed tests onboard and managed to get downloads of 10Mbps, with uploads of just over 1Mbps. These speeds are perfectly fine for light browsing.
To help judge the current network load, Emirates handily shows the number of people currently connected. A green WiFi icon means speeds should be higher, while a red WiFi icon means speeds may suffer due to the number of people connected.
Do I need the Emirates App to use WiFi?
No, WiFi access onboard is independent of the Emirates App.
How do I access Emirates WiFi?
- Turn your device into flight mode, then activate WiFi and connect to the OnAir network after takeoff
- Either login as a Skywards member to see promotions and discounts, or continue as a guest
- If you’re eligible for unlimited complimentary internet, that option will show up
- For non-eligible guests, use a card to pay for a WiFi plan
Does Emirates WiFi work during the whole flight?
Not exactly – while Emirates inflight internet will work during most of the flight, there are certain times where the connection won’t be active:
- When the plane is under 10,000 feet (i.e. just after take-off or before landing)
- When flying over a restricted geographical location
Can I use my Emirates WiFi allowance across separate flights?
No, Emirates WiFi plans are only valid per flight. If you have connecting flights, you will need to purchase access again for the second flight.
Can I use my Emirates WiFi allowance across separate devices?
Yes, paid WiFi plans are tied to your personal details. You can log on to a new device and continue your browsing session.