ANA Is Offering Free Wifi On Select Flights… With Restrictions

I’m someone who really values inflight wifi, though even among airlines that offer it, there’s huge variance in terms of pricing and quality.

Generally my preference is when airlines offer a wifi plan without data caps that you have to pay for. Why?

So I like something in the middle, like when airlines charge ~$20 for unlimited data over 24 hours. Airlines with such plans include American, Etihad, Japan Airlines, Lufthansa, United, and many more.

Etihad-A380-First-Class - 49

Unfortunately ANA isn’t among those airlines, and instead they charge based on data usage… and it’s outrageously expensive.

Well, ANA has just announced a promotion offering free in-flight wifi, though the promotion is highly restrictive.

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The promotion is only available on ANA’s new flights from Chicago and New York JFK to Tokyo Haneda (NH109, NH110, NH111, NH112). Even then there are several conditions:

  • You have to purchase your ticket through ANA’s US website between October 7, 2016, and March 31, 2017
  • Only valid for first, business, and premium economy passengers booked on revenue tickets, including fare classes E, G, P, Z, D, C, J, A, and F
  • Once you purchase your ticket, log into your reservation online and click on the banner to request your wifi code, which you’ll need in order to log on once on the plane

They’re advertising this code as being for a “full flight” wifi plan, though in practice that’s only valid for 100MB of data, and would otherwise cost $19.95. That’s enough to send some emails, but is hardly enough to use throughout an entire longhaul flight.

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Bottom line

On one hand this promotion is certainly better than nothing, if you happen to be an eligible customer. At the same time, I’m always a bit surprised by some of the promotions run by Japanese airlines. Specifically, I don’t really get these overly complicated promotions that I can’t imagine will actually impact peoples’ purchase behavior.

Is someone going to buy a ticket on ANA because they’re offering ~$20 worth of free wifi? I highly doubt it. It seems that if they want to delight customers they’d be much better off just handing out these vouchers onboard to eligible passengers, rather than making the process so complicated and requiring passengers to make the request online in advance.

Perhaps bigger picture I wish that ANA would introduce affordable wifi so that it’s actually useful, much like what JAL offers.

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ANA’s wifi is the one thing I’m not looking forward to on my upcoming flight with them.

(Tip of the hat to Wandering Aramean)

Comments

  1. What about the Jetblue approach where they have it free and have it for an hourly rate that could get really high but, is very fast.

  2. I have a feeling there are business travelers who happily pay whatever the rate is and then expense it. If someone uses 2GB and has to pay $400, that may be better for ANA than 10 people buying a $20 unlimited pass.
    I’m always surprised at how few people use wifi in business class though. I would think employers paying for those tickets would demand productivity.

  3. I got 10 MB free in-flight wifi on my DEL-NRT-DEL flights in January. Though it is actually unlimited, as you can game the system nonstop for access. This was on 767s.

  4. You value a lot wifi onboard but you never mention Finnair that has a good wifi that is free in business class and for frequent flyers in economy.

  5. People may not change their buying behaviour over this, but thousands of people have now been made aware ANA have new flights from Chicago and New York!

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