EMIRATES: Free WiFi messaging for Skywards members
If you sign up for the Emirates Skywards Frequent Flyer program, then you will get free basic WiFi, basic enough to operate WhatsApp, Messenger, and other similar text-based messaging services. So whatever membership level you are; Blue, Silver, or Gold, you get free messaging access in all classes.
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More than WiFi messaging
If you want more than messaging, then, your level of free service will depend on what class you are traveling in, and what Skywards membership status you have reached. Here is who gets free wifi, that is more than basic:
- Skywards Blue in First
- Skywards Silver in Business or First
- Skywards Gold in Business or First
- Skywards Platinum in every class
Who pays for WiFi, and how much?
Essentially if you don’t fall into those categories above, and you want to do more than messaging, then you will have to pay. The cost will depend on the length of your flight:
- For Chat: US$2.99 ‑ US$5.99 depending on the length of the flight – includes chat on WhatsApp, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, Line, or Viber with our text‑only service
- For Internet: US$9.99 ‑ US$19.99 depending on the length of the flight – for the whole flight.
- Easy Connect – US$9.99 for 30min – no data limit – selected regions
Hooking up to Wifi
You need to do this minimum of 24 hours before your flight. Make sure your Skywards membership number is attached to your booking. You can do that via the Emirates App, or via ‘Manage your Booking’ online. Make sure you have access to your Skywards membership number and password, since you will need these to access the WiFi services on the aircraft
Here are the steps:
- Connect to the OnAir Wi‑Fi network after take‑off
- Log in if you’re an Emirates Skywards member
- Choose a Wi‑Fi plan
- Pay online
The WiFi fine print
Don’t think you have unlimited bandwidth to play with. Streaming may not be possible, given data and syncing restrictions. Basically, Emirates places some limits on the data downloads for each flight, so if there are more people online, then expect your speed and amount of data access to be limited. Don’t count on being able to download the entire seasons of ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ for instance.
Flying over some countries might interrupt and restrict your downloading pleasure and Emirates is not responsible.
New planes, new services new screens, new WiFi
Emirates is using the high-speed capacity of inflight broadband offered by Inmarsat’s GX Aviation on its 50 new Airbus A350 aircraft which will enter service in 2024. It’s claiming this to be the first globally available broadband network, which should make the service uninterrupted.
Those A350s will also come equipped with smart seatback displays with two Bluetooth connections, and built-in WiFi, enabling passengers to pair multiple devices – think phones headphones, game controllers, and tablets.
We have known the inevitability of being connected globally on aircraft for some time. It’s just been a question of when the technology and cost will make it marketable by airlines. Looks like for Emirates, that will be next year with the introduction of its new A350s with their connection to the new Global Inmarsat GX Aviation system.
Free texting is a customer-friendly act. You can text with partners, kids, family, and friends, alerting them to your arrival time etc.
Downloading every Seinfeld episode is going to have to wait. And when passengers can do that, why would airlines invest in their entertainment systems or license programs?
What did you say?