Singapore Airlines has historically had a very Jekyll and Hyde approach to Wi-Fi: on certain aircraft, it has time-based plans which allow you to use as much as you like within a certain period, on others it has volume-based plans which cap your total data usage. The time-based plans are awesome; the volume-based plans lead to things like this happening.
Here’s how SQ’s existing Wi-Fi plans price:
Volume-based (all A380 and select B777-300ER)
- US$6.99 – 15MB
- US$12.99 – 30MB
- US$19.99 – 50MB
Time-based (All A350 and select B777-300ER)
- US$11.95 – one hour
- US$16.95 – three hours
- US$21.95 – 24 hours
These prices are certainly much higher than that of other Asia-Pac airlines, especially when it comes to volume-based plans.
In light of this, it’s good to note that SQ has finally started offering free Wi-Fi for premium cabin passengers and PPS club members. Here’s the email that went out yesterday:
From today, all customers travelling in premium classes on Singapore Airlines A380, A350 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft will enjoy complimentary WiFi. First Class and Suites customers will receive 100MB of WiFi while Business Class customers will receive 30MB of WiFi.
As an exclusive benefit for Solitaire PPS Club members, you and your supplementary card holder will enjoy complimentary 30MB of WiFi when travelling in Economy or Premium Economy Class on these aircraft.
To enjoy the free WiFi offering, you will only need to provide your last name and seat number via the ‘Complimentary Access’ section of the WiFi portal onboard. More details are available on the seat-back cards onboard the aircraft.
These complimentary plans apply per sector, so if you’re flying in First Class on say SQ12 from SIN-NRT-LAX you’ll get 100MB from SIN-NRT and 100MB from NRT-LAX.
The email mentioned that Business Class and PPS Club members get 30MB of Wi-Fi, but the FAQ’s say “up to 30MB”, adding the qualifier that “Data allowance varies depending on aircraft type and can be viewed via the onboard portal upon successful connection”.
(Update: this qualifier has since been removed, and the FAQ now says “30 MB” regardless of aircraft type)
Free Wi-Fi allowances do not stack- that’s to say, if you’re a PPS Club member flying in First Class, you get 100MB and not 100+30=130MB. PPS supplementary cardholders are entitled to the same “up to 30MB” allowance as principal cardholders.
30MB isn’t a whole lot of data (the Milelion homepage, for example, is about 2.5 MB) and it’s safe to say you won’t be doing anything beyond basic email and Whatsapp (remember to deactivate your automatic downloading of images over Wi-Fi). You’d also best disable any cloud based apps that constantly upload data in the background such as Google Photos.
I’m confused as to why SQ set a volume-based limit regardless of whether the plane is equipped with volume or priced-based Wi-Fi. Where volume-based plans are available, it does seem a bit stingy to give 30/100MB instead of, say, 1-2 hours free. I’m also slightly surprised that they didn’t offer free Wi-Fi to premium economy passengers either, given the number of business travelers who have been forced to downgrade in recent years. It would have been a relatively low-cost way of differentiating their PY product.
That said, this is all in all a welcome move from SQ and let’s hope it leads to more affordable Wi-Fi across all cabin classes in the future.