In an attempt to enhance customer service experience Emirates will be offering its customers Wi-Fi connectivity at zero or nominal charges. Customers will be able to enjoy phone service on 75% of its fleet, along with in-seat email, telephone and SMS services will be made available on every aircraft aswell.
The airline currently offers free Wi-Fi on 106 of its aircrafts with more aircrafts being equipped with Wi-Fi facility every month. The service was upgraded in February which now requires a simpler sign-in. This has helped boost the uptake by 25%. The airline is investing over US$20 million annually to enhance inflight connectivity through installation of various devices. The Wi-Fi service has gained popularity, especially on ultra-long-haul flights, in which over 30% of passengers typically use Wi-Fi services. 66% of passengers used the Wi-Fi service on a recent flight to New York, which reflects the rising demand for connectivity.
The airline is currently offering Wi-Fi services on all of its 59 Airbus A380 aircraft and 47 of its Boeing 777 aircraft. Customers are allowed the first 10MB data free of cost, which is more than adequate for social media account updates or instant messaging apps. Passengers can avail an additional 500MB of data for a token $US 1 charge. The airlines plans to offer Wi-Fi services on all of its Boeing 777-300ERs and 777-200LRs.
Patrick Brannelly, Divisional Vice President for Customer Experience said that Emirates aims to make the entire fleet Wi-Fi enabled. He said that needs of customers are changing and they require Wi-Fi on-the-go. He explained how lifestyle changes require customers to stay connected through online social networks and instant messaging. Brannelly said that the airline believes in reducing or completely eliminating the cost on data usage, so that customers can enjoy free Wi-Fi onboard without any constraints.
The small token fee has to be charged initially to ensure the Wi-Fi services due to speed and bandwidth availability and the lack of advanced hardware and software support on the planes.
Recent data reveled that passengers most frequently access Facebook and Google, and chat services Skype and WhatsApp onboard, which reflects customers’ need to stay connected on social media websites while they are travelling.
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