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?
- When airlines offer free Wi-Fi (like Emirates), it tends to be outrageously slow
- When airlines charge based on data usage, it tends to be outrageously expensive, to the point that it’s not worth using (like the case of someone who had a ~$1,200 Wi-Fi bill on Singapore Airlines)
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.
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.
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 Wi-Fi 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” Wi-Fi 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.
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 Wi-Fi so that it’s actually useful, much like what JAL offers.
ANA’s Wi-Fi is the one thing I’m not looking forward to on my upcoming flight with them.
(Tip of the hat to Wandering Aramean)