Airlines in Race to Offer Faster Internet

Qatar Airlines. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Qatar Airlines. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Wi-Fi at 35,000 feet is fast become an essential for the business and leisure traveller on the long haul planes.

Emirates has Wi-Fi on all its routes, including Nairobi, said Hendrik Du Preez, the Kenya country manager.

‘‘We offer 20MB of complimentary Wi-Fi data on board within the first two hours of log in while Emirates Skywards members in first class and business class enjoy unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi and discounted plans in economy class. For non-members of the Emirates Skywards, they get options of 150 or 500 MB at $9.99 and $15.99 (Sh999 and Sh1,599),’’ he said.

Etihad Airways does not have Wi-Fi on Nairobi routes. Wi-Fi is only available on the 777 which ply the longer routes such as Los Angeles, Washington DC, London, Manchester, Dublin, Düsseldorf, Paris, Sydney, Melbourne, São Paulo, Bangkok and Jakarta. 

‘‘Wi-Fi costs range from Sh495 for 30MB, 90MB for Sh1,195 and 180MB for Sh1,995. But it is free for Etihad’s Diamond first class passengers,’’ said George Mawadri, Etihad Airways general manager for Africa. Joining the carriers offering the amenity, British Airways over the next two years plans connect 118 of its long haul aircraft with fast Internet allowing flyers to browse and stream from the comfort of their seats. 


‘‘We are progressively installing Wi-Fi on our aircraft but it is not currently available on the Nairobi route,’’ said Kevin Leung, British Airways commercial manager for Kenya and Ghana.

The Internet will be available approximately 10 minutes after take-off when the aircraft has passed 10,000 feet.

The portal will work with the latest operating systems from Apple, Android and Windows, allowing customers to connect on a variety of devices.

Last year in May, Lufthansa introduced Internet on its long haul flights including Kenya. The Internet access works simply via Wi-Fi using the passenger’s own mobile devices.

At the date of introduction, the three offers ranged from messaging services through surfing the net and even to video streaming.

The FlyNet Message for three euro (Sh375), FlyNet Surf for seven euro (Sh875) and FlyNet Stream for 12 euro (Sh1,500) per flight.

Qatar Airways currently provides free Wi-Fi for the first 15 minutes of your flight, but further access must be purchased.