- Reliable connectivity that can be moved between devices
- Plans based on data, rather than time
- Complimentary access for business class, PPS Club
Singapore Airlines' Airbus A350s are popular with business travellers, not only because they guarantee business class flyers a fully-flat bed on every flight, but also come with the promise of inflight WiFi, including free access to top-tier guests.
Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 inflight Internet: access options
Most Inflight WiFi plans with Singapore Airlines are based on the amount of data consumed rather than the time spent online.
All passengers can purchase access, although some flyers begin with a free data allowance, and can purchase a further plan if needed at the regular prices.
- Complimentary 100MB plan: Offered to business class passengers and PPS Club members (including supplementary PPS Club cardholders) on Airbus A350 flights.
- 'Chat' 30MB plan: US$3.99 with a maximum connectivity time of two hours. For text-only chatting using Apple iMessage, Facebook Messenger, InstaChat, Viber, WeChat and WhatsApp.
- 'Pro' 100MB plan: US$9.99. As with the complimentary 100MB plan, data on this plan can be used at any time during the flight.
- 'Premium' 200MB plan: US$15.99. Again, valid for the duration of the flight.
It's worth noting that while the complimentary data allowance for eligible passengers is different on some Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 flights (30MB free, rather than 100MB), on all Airbus A350 flights, the more generous 100MB limit applies.
That said, each plan above is valid only on the flight on which it was purchased or activated, so if you're connecting onto another Singapore Airlines A350 flight – or even a flight operated by a different aircraft type – your plan doesn't carry over.
On the plus side, business class passengers and PPS Club members can activate a new complimentary plan on every flight sector, so when taking the A350 from Wellington to Singapore via Melbourne, for example, that's 100MB to use across the Tasman and another 100MB for the longer leg onward to Singapore.
Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 inflight Internet: getting online
Simply connect your device to the aircraft's KrisWorld hotspot and open your web browser to get the ball rolling.
If you're booked in business class or hold PPS Club status, look for the "Complimentary Access" tab and enter your email address, last name and seat number to get online. The last name and seat number must match your boarding pass.
Otherwise, venture to the "Purchase" tab to select a retail plan and complete payment.
Once online, it's best to begin browsing in a new tab or window so that you can keep an eye on the amount of data you've used. You can also 'pause' your plan when access isn't needed to prevent data from being accessed in the background.
It's possible to move your connection from one device to another by logging into the portal using the same email address as was originally provided to get online.
This is handy when transitioning from more serious work on a laptop to lighter browsing or messaging on a tablet or smartphone.
In any case, you'll know when you're out of data when the WiFi portal replaces your data allowance with this yellow "WiFi" box, and the pause button with "select an offer":
Singapore Airlines Airbus A350 inflight Internet: usability
On a return Airbus A350 journey between Brisbane and Singapore, the service worked flawlessly with no dropouts while connected.
As a business class passenger, the complimentary data allowance was also easy to activate, use and pause, and although the service isn't unlimited, it's great to see some form of free connectivity available here.
Testing revealed average download speeds of 0.3Mbps and average uploads of 1.3Mbps. Practically speaking, that means being patient when loading web pages and downloading files, but that sending photos and email attachments to others is a bit zippier.
Using the service to respond to emails in real-time on a busy business day was also enough to confuse colleagues into thinking I'd already reached my destination, as replies to messages were transmitted as promptly as on the ground: with the added advantage of being able to relax and unwind upon landing.
For many business travellers, that's the biggest advantage of inflight WiFi: being able to tackle work as things arise, and arrive at their destination with business taken care of, rather than an overflowing inbox.
Chris Chamberlin travelled as a guest of Singapore Airlines.