Review: KLM's Boeing 777 inflight WiFi

Settle back with free text-based messaging from gate to gate, and a range of paid plans for broader Internet access.

Overall Rating

By Chris Chamberlin, October 8 2021
KLM's Boeing 777 inflight WiFi
Notes
The Good
  • Affordable one-hour plans for those who don't need to remain online
The Bad
  • You'll pay nearly A$50 per flight for the highest-speed plan
X-Factor
  • Stay connected with friends and family, with free messaging for the entire flight

Introduction

KLM's Boeing 777 jets appear on many of the airline's longest routes, and provide satellite-based WiFi to help travellers stay connected.

With text messaging provided at no cost, and broader access at a modest fee, here's how KLM's Boeing 777 inflight WiFi shapes up.

KLM Boeing 777 inflight Internet: access options

When surfing aboard KLM, the airline's Internet plans are tailored to both time and speed.

This means you won't be stung with an unexpectedly high charge after downloading too much data, given the plan structures available.

  • 'Message' plan: Available to all travellers for the entire flight, allowing for text-based messaging via a collection of apps. No charge applies.
  • Surf (1 hour) plan: €8 (A$12.95) or 2,700 Flying Blue miles. Unlimited data, with 60 minutes of connectivity.
  • Surf (full flight) plan: €18 (A$29.15) or 6,000 Flying Blue miles. Unlimited data for the entire flight.
  • Stream (full flight) plan: €30 (A$48.60) or 10,000 Flying Blue miles. Unlimited data, but at the highest available speeds.

For those on the Message plan, text-based messaging is supported through apps like WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, and Apple iMessage – but web browsing is barred.

It's possible to activate the Message plan at the beginning of the flight, and then to pay for a different plan on top, such as one hour of Surf, when you need access to the broader Internet.

While it's great to see a higher-speed plan for video streaming, the premium it attracts could buy at least a month's subscription to popular services like Netflix.

Those who'd mainly use the plan to watch such services could find it more economical to simply download shows to their own device in advance of their flight, rather than attempting to stream them via satellite.

KLM Boeing 777 inflight Internet: getting online

Connect your device to the 'KLM_WiFi' hotspot to get the ball rolling, and if nothing happens, enter connect.klm.com into your web browser.

Then, it's as easy as selecting your plan, and confirming whether you'd like to pay in money or miles.

In addition to payment by Flying Blue miles, the portal accepts American Express, Mastercard and Visa cards – which are charged in Euros – as well as PayPal.

Once your plan has been purchased, keep the WiFi portal tab open (or return to connect.klm.com) to check how much time you have remaining, if you purchased a timed plan.

It's possible to move your paid access between devices – just take note of the eight-character code relevant to your plan, and on the 'new' device, click "Already have a voucher?", and type that code in.

Switching your connection to a different device disconnects the original device, but you can move your plan back by following the same steps.

KLM Boeing 777 inflight Internet: usability

On a return journey between Singapore and Amsterdam, we tested both the paid 'Surf' plan, and the free 'Message' plan.

Text-based messaging worked flawlessly, and as text uses very little data, messages were sent and received almost as quickly as you'd expect on the ground.

A one-hour test of the broader Surf plan found speeds usable, but not exceedingly zippy.

Connection tests revealed an average download speed of 920Kbps (~0.9Mbps), with uploads averaging 2.3Mbps.

With high latency (858ms), this means web browsing was slow, but usable – as expected of a connection like this – while uploads were faster: handy for posting photos on social media.

For many business travellers, being able to respond to emails in the air, or submit any time-critical work, means arriving at their destination with the job done.

Although this Internet access comes at a charge, the small premium will be worth it for many travellers and companies, and adds little to the overall cost of flying business class.

Also read: KLM Boeing 777 World Business Class review

Chris Chamberlin travelled as a guest of KLM.

Chris Chamberlin

A Brisbane-based contributor to Executive Traveller, Chris Chamberlin lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins not just with a single step, but also a strong latte, a theatre ticket, and later in the day, a good gin and tonic.

How long before airlines start to realise that like "non-smoking" (yes, I DO realise THAT move was legislated) there is almost certainly a 'place' (at least on long haul international flights) for "This is a non-internet enabled flight". Plus 5% ... 10% maybe? Beam me in, Scotty.


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