KrisFlyer News Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines trials unlimited free Wi-Fi in Business Class

Previously the domain of Suites and First Class passengers, those in SIA's Business Class cabin on selected aircraft can currently enjoy free unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi.

Three years after rolling out its first ever unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi packages on board to those travelling in its Suites and First Class cabins, Singapore Airlines is extending this generosity to those travelling in its Business Class cabin for the first time.

This is part of a trial the airline is conducting on selected Airbus A350, Boeing 737, Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 aircraft, and will hopefully become a permanent feature in future.

Our readers started to report this benefit to us only yesterday, and we have now received confirmation from the airline itself in response to a request that there is indeed a trial running, though it is not being advertised at this stage.

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Those flying in any cabin class on selected Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft who are PPS Club or supplementary PPS Club members will also benefit from unlimited Wi-Fi.

Usual Wi-Fi allowance

Normally the following complimentary Wi-Fi packages are available to Singapore Airlines passengers travelling on Wi-Fi equipped aircraft, which is now the entire fleet with the exception of the Boeing 737-800s.

Usual
Complimentary Wi-Fi Allowance
  PPS Club KrisFlyer
Member
Non-KrisFlyer
Suites
First Class
Unlimited free Wi-Fi
Business Class 100MB
Premium Economy /
Economy Class
100MB
2-hour
Chat session
N/A

Full details of SIA’s regular Wi-Fi allowances and pricing are available here.

New allowances

During this trial period, complimentary unlimited Wi-Fi is being extended to all Business Class passengers and PPS Club member travelling in Premium Economy or Economy Class.

“Singapore Airlines is conducting a Wi-Fi trial on selected aircraft types as part of our continuous review of the existing Wi-Fi offerings.
“During this period, customers can enjoy a range of onboard Wi-Fi allowance, depending on their KrisFlyer membership status and cabin class.”

SIA spokesperson

Here is a summary of the new allowances, provided to us by Singapore Airlines.

Free Trial
Complimentary Wi-Fi Allowance
  PPS Club KrisFlyer
Member
Non-KrisFlyer
Suites
First Class
Unlimited free Wi-Fi
Business Class Unlimited free Wi-Fi

Premium Economy /
Economy Class
Unlimited free Wi-Fi

2-hour
Surf session

N/A

Supplementary PPS Club cardholders also benefit from the PPS Club unlimited allowance, where offered.

Singapore Airlines told us that the trial has no fixed end date at the moment, so hopefully we’ll see it running well into September at least.

Aside from the obviously fantastic benefit for Business Class and PPS Club passengers, the 2-hour surf session for KrisFlyer members is also a nice improvement on the chat session.

That’s because the connection is not ‘optimised’ for text messaging on apps, but is an ordinary bandwidth package, allowing full-bandwidth internet use.

Which aircraft?

SIA confirmed to us that the complimentary Wi-Fi trial is currently available only on the following aircraft types:

  • Airbus A350 Long Haul
  • Airbus A350 ULR
  • Boeing 737-8 MAX
  • Boeing 777-300ER*
  • Boeing 787-10

* 9V-SWU to -SWZ and 9V-SNA to -SNC only

That means unfortunately you won’t be able to enjoy the benefit on the airline’s other Wi-Fi equipped aircraft, the Airbus A350 Medium Haul and the Airbus A380.

Update 5 September 2022: Singapore Airlines confirmed to us that the Boeing 777-300ERs included in the trial are the newer aircraft with the Panasonic Wi-Fi system, comprising:

  • 9V-SWU
  • 9V-SWV
  • 9V-SWW
  • 9V-SWY (stored)
  • 9V-SWZ
  • 9V-SNA
  • 9V-SNB
  • 9V-SNC

That means seven of the airline’s 17 active Boeing 777-300ERs (i.e. around 40%) have the complimentary Wi-Fi benefit, while the other 60% fitted with the GX Aviation Wi-Fi system unfortunately don’t.

This could be useful information, in case you know the registration of the aircraft operating your upcoming flight in advance.

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The biggest omission here is the large fleet of 24 Airbus A350 Medium Haul aircraft, which operate extensively on the airline’s shorter flights, but also notably on most Australian routes like Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

This is probably due to these aircraft having a different Wi-Fi system to the other A350s. Let’s hope they can be included at a future date.

Pick the Boeing 787-10 in Business Class on regional routes during the trial if you can, since Airbus A350 Medium Haul aircraft are sadly not included. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

You can see where Singapore Airlines is flying its Airbus A350 Medium Haul aircraft across the network at our continually updated summary of Business Class seats by route.

Thanks to our seats guide, you can see it’s SQ245/246 you’ll need to pick on the Brisbane route for free unlimited Wi-Fi in Business Class!

Unfortunately Airbus A380s are also not part of the trial. These are now being used quite extensively, to cities like Sydney, London and Delhi.

Remember that ex-SilkAir Boeing 737-800s, which are making an appearance lately on some routes like Bali and Phuket, in addition to shorter flights, are not Wi-Fi equipped. Pick the Boeing 737-8 MAX to benefit on the narrow-body fleet.

How much does it save?

Once you have used any complimentary Wi-Fi allowance on board a Singapore Airlines flight, the following packages are normally available for purchase.

  • Chat (2 hours) US$3.99
    Optimised for text-only messaging on chat apps, e.g. WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, iMessage.
    Cannot be paused.
  • Pro (100MB) US$9.99
    No time limit.
  • Premium (200MB) US$15.99
    No time limit.
  • Surf (3 hours) US$15.99
    No data limit, cannot be paused.
Paid Wi-Fi options on a recent Boeing 777-300ER flight (mid-August 2022)

These costs can soon add up, particularly for data-intensive users on long flights, which is why the unlimited complimentary Wi-Fi deal for First Class and Suites passengers was always such a useful perk.

It’s great that this will now be extended to Business Class, temporarily at least, on these participating aircraft, including A350 ULR non-stops to and from New York.



 


 

How’s the speed?

It’s not possible to definitively say what speed you will get when browsing the web on board a Singapore Airlines Wi-Fi equipped aircraft. Numerous factors such as atmospheric conditions, altitude, location, passenger usage or even what device you use will affect the end-user experience.

Inmarsat
(Image: Inmarsat)

The limitations for each system are based on the satellite bandwidth they respectively use. For SITA On-Air it’s KA band and 864 kbit/s (per channel). For Panasonic, it’s KU band and 12 mbps (although it can go much higher).

We’ve tested the Panasonic system more extensively, with some good results:

  • A350 LH: 3.71 Mbps download / 2.15 Mbps upload
  • “New” A380 Jan 18: 8.62 Mbps download / 2.30 Mbps upload
  • “New” A380 Mar 18: 6.72 Mbps download / 2.02 Mbps upload
  • “New” 777-300ER Oct 19: 5.7 Mbps download / 2.2 Mbps upload
  • 777-300ER Aug 22: 5.1 Mbps download / 1.0 Mbps upload
  • 787-10: 4.46 Mbps download / 1.66 Mbps upload

These should be more than enough to satisfy your airborne data needs.

Of course, additional passenger use from unlimited packages could slow the system down further, so this is likely something SIA will be monitoring (along with the cost of this new generosity!), during the trial.

Summary

If you’re flying with Singapore Airlines in the coming weeks on most aircraft types in Business Class, or as a PPS Club status holder in any cabin, you’ll enjoy unlimited free Wi-Fi as part of a trial being conducted by the airline.

That’s great news for those who need to remain connected and don’t want to fork out for one of the paid access packages, once their 100MB allowance had expired.

PPS Club members and their supplementary cardholders flying in Premium Economy or Economy Class will also benefit, on selected aircraft. (Photo: Singapore Airlines)

Unfortunately the Airbus A350 Regional fleet is not part of the trial, in common with Airbus A380s and some Boeing 777-300ERs as well, so it’s not quite a ‘fleet-wide’ benefit right now.

We have checked with SIA how long this trial is proposed to last, and will update this article with their response. Update: SIA has stated that the end date of the Wi-Fi trial has yet to be confirmed.

Let’s hope the airline is happy with the results of the experiment, and that complimentary Wi-Fi in Business Class can become a permanent fixture. In the meantime, make the most of it if you can!

(Cover Photo: Singapore Airlines)

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6 comments

  1. Surprised to see a news that SQ goes generous on their offerings especially when they look for every options to cut down cost like no predeparture drinks, no amenity kits, no hard copy menus and cheap items on menu. This is from my own experience from a business class flight last week on A380.

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