Reviews

Review: Swiss Connect inflight Internet (Boeing 777-300ER)

Overall Rating

By David Flynn, May 19 2016
Swiss Connect inflight Internet (Boeing 777-300ER)
Notes
The Good
  • Sky-high surfing is always cool
The Bad
  • The high price is NOT cool
X-Factor
  • It's eXpensive

Introduction

On a recent Swiss flight between Hong Kong and Zurich, on the airline's new Boeing 777-300ER, we fire up the inflight Internet service to see how it fares for business travellers looking to stay connected above the clouds.

Content

Swiss joins the swelling ranks of airlines which are embracing satellite Internet, although it's currently limited to the Boeing 777-300ER fleet.

And like much else in and of Switzerland, it's very costly.

The Swiss Connect service is charged by how much data you use (which includes both downloads and uploads), rather than how long you spend online.

The least expensive option is 20MB for 9 Swiss Francs (A$12.50), which the airline suggests is best “if you just intend to shortly check your emails or visit a couple of websites.”

But we can tell you from experience that this won’t go far, especially if you want to share some in-flight selfies on social media.

At 19 Swiss Francs (A$26.50) the mid-range 50MB pass is a safer bet, or you can go all out with 120MB for 39 Swiss Francs (A$54). 

This makes it among the world’s most expensive inflight WiFi services.

The signup process is fairly straightforward and includes creating an account which can be used on subsequent Swiss Boing 777 flights without having to re-enter all your details from scratch.

Before you jump online, however, take a few precautions to keep unnecessary data consumption to a minimum: close your email app (you should be accessing your email via a web page, not laptop or tablet software) and disable any cloud backup software.

Read more: Five tips for making the most of inflight Internet

Once you’re connected, a web page helps keep track of how much data you’ve chewed through and how much remains.

The Internet speed on my flight was adequate if not peppy, although I couldn’t even load the Speedtest website to check the actual throughput. But it was clear that Facebook’s not made for leisurely connection speeds.

What may surprise you is how quickly you can hit your download limit – even on the mid-range 50MB plan.

During my flight from Hong Kong to Zurich I was online for just under 30 minutes, and without any heavy-duty online activity – just some email (sent and received through the Google Mail web page), a few visits to a few news websites, a little bit of Facebook browsing (without uploading any photos) and suddenly I’d hit that 50MB ceiling and my connection was cut off.

This indicates that the top-shelf 120MB package could be your best bet, but you'll still want to watch your online activity very carefully.

David Flynn flew as a guest of Swiss, but paid for his own inflight Internet connection.

Also read: Qantas to launch free inflight Internet for Australian flights

David

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.

daschok

daschok

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

27 Feb 2015

Total posts 34

The crew get their own????? 

I want to work for them now...

autvlr

autvlr

12 Apr 2011

Total posts 69

Was there reception over China?

vantage03

vantage03

13 Aug 2015

Total posts 39

Good question. Annoyingly, no, as I discovered the hard way. It does not work over China.

This renders the wifi semi-useless on the ZRH-HKG sector, as you board very late in the evening, then go to sleep. I woke up over Chinese airspace to find that the Wifi no-longer worked!

RaptorNation158

RaptorNation158

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

Good ol' China!

RaptorNation158

RaptorNation158

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

Those prices are higher than the plane's altitude!


Hi Guest, join in the discussion on Swiss Connect inflight Internet (Boeing 777-300ER)