Singapore Airlines Inflight Wifi

Based on feedback from you guys, I just flew Singapore Airlines business class from Frankfurt to New York JFK, and had an absolutely amazing flight. It was my first longhaul flight in Singapore Airlines business class in over five years, and I felt like I was in first class. I’ll cover that in more detail in a separate post, though.

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This flight was also unique for me since it was my first Singapore Airlines flight with inflight wifi. Their inflight wifi provider is OnAir, and Singapore is apparently progressively installing wifi throughout their Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER fleet.

There are quite a few airlines nowadays with inflight wifi, and they’re all slightly different.

I’m a fan of Lufthansa’s FlyNet, for example, whereby you can buy a 24 hour pass with unlimited data for a reasonable cost (usually around 20EUR). While the wifi isn’t high speed, it’s good enough for emails, social media, etc.

Other airlines charge based on usage. For example, Emirates also uses OnAir, though on my Emirates flights the wifi was fairly fast and usable. For a six hour flight, constant wifi usage cost me about $40. That’s quite a bit more than on Lufthansa, but still worth the cost.

Singapore Airlines is unfortunately the first airline where I just haven’t found wifi to be worth it. At all.

I value inflight connectivity so am usually willing to pay whatever the cost is since it allows me to productive, though in the case of Singapore the OnAir wifi is prohibitively expensive.

They have two wifi options. You can purchase:

  • 5MB of internet access for $5.99
  • 10MB of internet access for $9.99
  • Each additional 100KB of data over plan limit costs $0.15USD

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You have the option of automatically being logged out once you’ve reached your data limit, or the option of staying logged in even when exceeding your data limit.

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Those fees are outrageously expensive. For example, on my last Emirates flight they charged $20 for 100MB of data. That means wifi on Singapore is more than five times as expensive as on Emirates!

Though the worst part is that the internet is so slow that it hardly works.

For example, on my phone I couldn’t even upload an Instagram picture, and on my laptop I couldn’t even load a simple website. Downloading email on my phone took several minutes. I noticed it cost me $2 just to open an email based on data usage.

I spent $41USD on data for this flight, and with that I managed to send out a couple of Tweets, read a couple of emails, and not even post a picture to Instagram.

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So while I love inflight wifi and never thought I wouldn’t value it, Singapore Airlines is way off with their program. They have the worst wifi speeds and highest costs of any airline I’ve witnessed.

If you’ve used Singapore’s OnAir wifi, what was your experience?

Comments

  1. oh wow, that does actually look like and F seat… maybe it’s no longer worth it wasting miles on the suite?

  2. I had zero problem using Skype from SIN to LHR last year.

    Pretty cool to talk with Mom over India in the Suite.

  3. @ Lantean — Suites is still TOTALLY worth the modest premium. But business class is great as well.

  4. ANA has a similar model, and I was able to send 1 email and then i exceeded my limit. Not sure how this is useful at all, unless you are using a very lightweight device. The syncing of iCloud on the Mac certainly uses way too much bandwidth to make a model like this worthwhile.

  5. @Lucky

    Ok, you convinced me, I’ll book a suites flight for next summer… for the small $30 cancelation fee it’s worth the risk… i will most likely fly it anyway.

  6. ANA same rip off. Paid $20 and after taking forever to load not even 2 websites, the credit all ran out.

  7. You guys are failing to understand that its not the speed of the internet connection that takes up your allowed/purchased bandwith. It’s the normal data throughput that surpasses your purchase.

  8. I was on the 10:30 FRA-YUL today on an old Air Canada a330 today. I forgot how skinny the seats were on Air Canada and this Singapore product looks insanely better. Looks like I might stop dodging fuel surcharges and fly Singapore…

  9. SQ actually has 2 pricing models for wifi. On the A380s and its first batch of 77Ws, the wifi is L-band OnAir, which is priced by data size as you just experienced. On its new 77Ws with the latest cabin products, the wifi is Ku-band Panasonic in conjunction with T-Mobile, which is priced by time, with costs similar to that of LH.

  10. Good to know! I plan to fly SQ in a few weeks JFK-FRA and will choose not to use their inflight wifi.

    Is there a website that lists all the airlines with wifi and how much it costs? I flew Saudia in business class last month and that 777 plane had fast wifi (JED-JFK!) Best part is they gave each business class and first class passenger a 70MB data plan voucher for free! 🙂 I wish all the airlines did that for their premium passengers.

  11. Used it a decade ago when they were rolling it off die to low demand and hence free. Looks like things haven’t changed!

  12. Everyone who flies SQ regularly knows the value proposition of their inflight internet is exceedingly poor. 🙂

  13. @ DanielW — Well for one, because many people have their tickets paid for, but may not be able to expense hundreds of dollars for wifi. And beyond that regardless of what you paid for your ticket, it doesn’t feel good to be ripped off. Even passengers paying for business and first class can appreciate value.

  14. Lucky, I just had the same experience with Singapore WiFi. Not worth it. BTW, i will email you some pics later, but I just got off A380 Suites with the NEW first class look..it was amazing and it no longer looks like a dentist chair. Big upgrade and suites was worth every penny!

  15. @ Brad N – I’m flying the A380 suites in January. Hopefully, they will have the new look rolled out to most of the fleet by then. Would love to see the new pics.

  16. @ Brad N
    I’ll be flying Singapore A380 suuites next summer… very excited about the new seats as well.

  17. Any updates in the ~14 months since this original post? I have three segments coming up on the 77W right after New Years, and would like to see if I will be ripped off or if the WiFi cost is going to be in the ‘reasonable’ price range.

    Thx,
    theBOAT

  18. I just flew last week from FRA-SIN on SQ25 which featured an A380-800 and OnAir Internet. Speeds were good, but still outrageously expensive compared to Emirates: 30MB for 13 USD. I ended up using 60MB just for messaging some friends and had to key in my credit card details twice. Over some of the route the service didn’t work due to licensing issues. I did get an automatic refund for the service, which was nice.

    Overall a good experience via the login procedure and the speeds were adequate for catching up on emails.

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