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Malaysia Airlines' new Airbus A350 sees the Oneworld member join the WiFi club, with the advanced jet offering inflight Internet to passengers from the four first class suites through to the last row of economy.
However, the airline's MHConnect platform has eschewed the trend towards time-based connections including popular 'entire flight' packages in favour of data-based plans with fixed speed limits.
Pricing will start at a measly US$1 for a messaging-only Lite Plan aimed at text chat apps (no voice messaging or FaceTime video sessions) which combines a modest 64Kbps speed with an 8Mb data cap.
The US$5 Social Plan keeps the same speed but lifts the data ceiling to 20MB – and interestingly cites 'messaging and apps' as the intended usage yet doesn't permit Web browsing.
US$13 buys you the Business Plan, with 100MB of data although a still-skinny 200Kbps connection. We're not sure we would agree with Malaysia Airlines that 200Kbps is "ideal for those working on the go," although there's no arguing with the airlines' advice that "heavy video streaming is not encouraged".
You can also go online using iPass and Boingo hotspot accounts.
Malaysia Airlines tapped Panasonic for its WiFi and inflight entertainment systems, as well as Panasonic's eXPhone technology to use mobile phones in the air for voice calls and messaging – just be careful of those roaming charges, which can pack a sizeable sting!
Malaysia Airlines will be taking delivery of six Airbus A350s from December 2017 through to July 2018, and fly them to London from January 2018 (in place of its Airbus A380s) and potentially one other European destination.