In flight connectivity is all the rage these days, with Gogo offering various all day packages in the USA for $16 upwards, Emirates offering 500mb for a $1, and so on.
Yesterday, I was aboard an Iberia flight – and there was WiFi offered aboard the plane. Which is all well and good.
The A330 had the “new” Iberia cabin installed – but we’re not interested in that in this post (that’s another post completely)
However, the Iberia A330s seem to be equipped with onboard WiFi to allow you to be connected. This sounds like it’s worth exploring.
Booting up the IFE system, there’s a nice video to explain the WiFi system
However, quite quickly, there’s an explanation of what not to download.
Uh oh. Not recommending using laptops, large files and multimedia content? This can only end badly. The guide advised checking in the seat pocket for prices.
And, it’s expensive.
For those who can’t see the wording above:
- 4mb (yes, mb) plan -US$4.95
- 22mb plan – US$19.95
- 50mb plan – US$39.95
- Every extra Megabye – $1.75
And that my friends is expensive.
Whilst the coverage is pretty good, cost is going to be a barrier to uptake of the service.
As the rush to install and adopt WiFi aboard planes, putting barriers up like high costs. Whilst it does preserve bandwidth, I do wonder if providers actually know how much modern devices consume in data, along with data needs.
Iberia’s WiFi system is operated by OnAir (who’s prices on other airlines are “reassuringly expensive”.
Because with the prices above and knowing what my device could possibly consume – I took the safe option… and didn’t bother to connect at all.
Whilst some argue for tiered access, pricing must be fair and appropriate.
And with devices consuming data like it’s flowing water, for the casual flyer, the budget constrained flyer and those without expense accounts, the Iberia WiFi offering needs to be carefully considered if you actually need it.
… and if you can afford it.
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You make a really great point. Frankly, I suspect that outside of a few key long-haul markets (e.g. JFK/EWR, ORD, LHR, SFO, NRT, FRA, GRU, etc.), most international long-haul travelers don’t really need Wifi – they would be using it for fun. This means there are limited markets where such expensive wifi options would even get more than two or three users onboard.
You are right that there is also a chicken and egg problem. If it’s too expensive, no one uses it and airline tells itself “we don’t need wifi” and then people don’t use it. That being said, the costs really are exorbitant and GoGo is barely making a profit after all these years and market dominance in the US.
Also, if you’re flying in coach internationally, long-haul for work as I know you do, I find myself much more productive once I’m in a hotel on the ground rather than on the plane. 4 hours of work on the plane is equivalent to two hours on the ground so I’d rather watch movies or just sit and stare outside. Just my opinion though.
No Fly Zone says
As much as I like the idea of being connected (at times) while in-flight, there are NO bargains and most of the services perform far below claimed standards, if at all. So help me, I’ve never had a good experience with the several providers, they are tight with credits for dysfunctional service and I’m fed up. I’ve learned to preload whatever I may need while in the air and do without the rest. Live content such as email, will just have to wait until I land. The theory is great, as is the theory USB and low-AMP power is available at all forward cabin seats. In truth, these services as well as full-load IFE simply do not work, most of the time. The cabin crew takes the heat for problems that are not theirs and even the top-rated carriers cannot seem to make these services work on MY FLIGHTS. The prices are horrible, even when it does work, so I’ve learned to do without. It is a gamble, no one accepts responsibility and once that card is swiped or entered, the money is gone. While these charges won’t cripple my business, I don’t have the time to demand refunds, so they win a few for stolen bucks. My response is NO! Until they get it right or make the adjustment process 10x faster, I simply refuse to buy the product. And no, I do not blame the cabin crew; they hate it as much as I do and it is not their fault. -C.