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Etihad Airways Offers Free Inflight Messaging and Simplified WiFi Pricing On Widebody Aircraft

Etihad Airways Offers Free Inflight Messaging and Simplified WiFi Pricing On Widebody Aircraft

a woman in a uniform in an airplane

Etihad Airways is now offering free inflight messaging on popular social media apps, including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, as part of a new simplified and more inclusive WiFi pricing strategy on its long-haul widebody aircraft fleet.

Along with offering free inflight messaging, the Emirati flag carrier has also introduced two simple price plans for its full-service inflight WiFi, which offers unlimited data based on the length of flight.

To take advantage of the free messaging service, passengers will first need to sign up as a member of the airline’s Etihad Guest frequent flyer programme, which is free to join.

Etihad Guest members can then access the free ‘Chat’ plan or pay a flat fee for the unlimited data ‘Surf’ plan. For flights under 7 hours, the surf plan costs just $9.99, while it will cost $19.99 for all flights longer than 7 hours.

Passengers who fail to sign up as an Etihad Guest member before boarding their flight will be asked to pay for the ‘Chat’ plan at $2.99 or $4.99 depending on the length of flight.

First Class passengers, as well as frequent flyers who have attained ‘Platinum’ or ‘Exclusive’ tier in the Etihad Guest programme, will now also get free ‘Surf’ plan inflight WiFi for the duration of the flight.

The new WiFi pricing strategy will only apply to Etihad’s widebody fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A350s and not single-aisle Airbus A320 series aircraft – although these aircraft are fitted with technology that allows passengers to make and receive calls and use data roaming services.

“Our fleet of modern wide-body aircraft is fitted with the right technology to enable this service and offer our guests an enjoyable connected experience throughout their journey,” commented Antonoaldo Neves, Etihad’s new chief executive.

“We know how important it is for our guests to stay connected, which is why we’re thrilled to introduce an added complimentary benefit for Etihad Guest members and welcome everyone to sign up before they fly to take advantage of this benefit immediately,” Neves continued.

Passengers are increasingly considering inflight connectivity options when they book a flight, and airlines are being pushed to think of WiFi provisioning as a cost base rather than a revenue base which they can charge a significant amount for.

Although inflight WiFi prices are starting to tumble, Etihad hasn’t gone so far as some airlines like Delta, which offers free WiFi on select flights or jetBlue which has led the industry with fee-free inflight WiFi across its fleet.

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