Wi-Fi takes off: Aussies encouraged to choose airlines with Internet access
- 48% of airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi and 1 in 10 have free options
- Emirates delivers the cheapest connectivity, followed by Mango Airlines
- finder.com.au’s top 10 best Wi-Fi deals for travellers
17 August, 2016, Sydney, Australia – finder.com.au, Australia’s most visited comparison site1, is encouraging travellers to consider Wi-Fi availability when choosing flights, with new analysis revealing half of the top 100 airlines2 now offer the feature.
With Qantas and Virgin Australia announcing plans to rollout Wi-Fi in 2017, and an array of Asian-based airlines offering the connectivity, Aussie travellers have a good range of options.
Of the carriers flying in and out of Australia, Etihad, Qatar, Singapore Airlines, Japan Airlines, Air Asia, Thai Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Garuda and Delta Air Lines are among those currently offering Wi-Fi.
Angus Kidman, Tech Expert at finder.com.au, says Wi-Fi is quickly becoming the preferred feature ahead of meals and entertainment.
“For travellers looking to be connected, access to Wi-Fi could well be the deciding factor when choosing an airline. It unlocks Internet access for flyers and allows them to do things like stream music from Spotify, stay in the SnapChat or Instagram loop and catch up on emails.”
However despite seven in 10 Aussies 3 claiming they are willing to pay for Wi-Fi regardless of time spent flying, a whopping 49% of airlines are yet to add the sought-after connection.
All in all, competitive pricing will be crucial for airlines looking to introduce Wi-Fi, adds Mr Kidman.
“There’s no question price and value for money will play a big part in the uptake of the service. Qantas’ newly revealed free Wi-Fi plans is a massive win for travellers and will likely put pressure on Virgin to do the same.”
Only one in 10 (12%) currently offer free Wi-Fi, and the deals are subject to specific caveats such as a minimum of frequent flyer points or sitting in first or business class (see below for the list of airlines offering free Wi-Fi).
Irrespective of travel class, finder’s analysis shows Aussies flying overseas can enjoy free Wi-Fi on just two airlines: Emirates and Philippine Airlines.
For paid options, Emirates offers the best deal with the first 10MB of data free of charge, then $1.47 for the next 500MB. The next most competitive deal is seven dollars away with Mango Airlines offering $8.04 for 60MB and China Airlines with $9.11 for 24 hours and unlimited data.
Travellers could be paying up to $444 for just 200MB with Aeroflot Russian Airlines and Oman Air charging over $2 per megabyte (see below for the top 10 deals).
“With many more airlines projected to launch Wi-Fi in the near future, travellers should look out for carriers offering free trial periods. If you’re not in luck with a free option, always make sure you read the fine print and choose the package which best suits your needs.”
Top 10 Wi-Fi deals *
| Rank|| Airline|| Cost for 200MB or 8 hours in AUD|| Details of package|
|1||Emirates||AU$1.47||US$1 for 500MB and free for first 10MB|
Available on A380 and select 777
|2||Mango Airlines||AU$8.04||ZAR 29 (South African Rand) for 60MB|
Available on 737-800
|3||China Airlines||AU$9.11||TWD $650 (Taiwan Dollar) for 24 hours, no limit of data|
Available on 777-300ER
|4||Southwest Airlines||AU$10.72||US$8 per flight|
|5||Westjet Airlines||AU$16.40||CAD (Canadian Dollar) $13.99-$16.09 for the entire flight|
Available on 737
|6||Turkish Airlines||AU$20.09||US$14.99 for 24 hours|
|7||Air Berlin||AU$20.43||€13.90 for the entire flight and 90MB (available on medium-haul only)|
|8||Delta Airlines||AU$21.44||US$16 for a 24-hour pass|
|9||Alaska Airlines||AU$21.44||All day pass US$16 (uncapped data)|
|10||Aer Lingus||AU$21.88||€14.95 for full flight pass|
Available on A330 aircraft
Airlines with free Wi-Fi
|Emirates||First 10MB free on all A380 and select 777|
|Etihad||Free for first class passengers|
|China Southern Airlines||CNY258 (Chinese Yuan) worth of free Wi-Fi ($51.6AUD)|
In first and business class however, it's first come best dressed with free Wi-Fi for the first 10 passengers per flight
|Finnair||Free Wi-Fi in business class, Finnair Gold and Platinum members, oneworld Sapphire and Emerald members|
|Garuda Airlines||Free for first class passengers|
|Hong Kong Airlines||Free on A330-200 from London to Hong Kong|
|Iceland Air||For Saga Class passengers and Saga Gold members on up to two devices|
|Jetblue Airways||Free for web surfing, email and social media on A321, A320 and 50% of E190|
|Norwegian||Free on most flights within Europe, and between the United States and Caribbean|
|Philippine Airlines||First 30 minutes or 15MB free on A330 and 777 until 28th February 2017|
Mabuhay members with more than one million miles also get free Wi-Fi (up to 150MB)
|Saudi Arabian Airlines||Free for first and business class passengers|
|Swiss International Airlines||50MB free for first class passengers|
*Methodology: We’ve looked at all airlines within the Skytrax top 100 as we believe this is the best method of characterising the top airlines. The Wi-Fi figures analysed are only the airlines that explicitly listed on their website pricing per megabyte, per hour, or per flight. finder.com.au has accordingly ranked the airlines based on the cheaper of either using 200 megabytes for the flight or being connected for Wi-Fi for eight hours. We’ve also taken foreign currency and converted to AUD using rates from July 27th 2016.
1. Average 1.7M visitors monthly, Experian Hitwise since 2015 ↩
2. Skytrax Top 100 Airlines of 2016 ↩
3. Inmarsat 2016 Gfk APAC research ↩
For further information
The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com.au's review pages for the current correct values.
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