As the competition among airlines gets stiffer, the pressure for airlines to add services increases. The latest amenity passengers have been requesting is the ability to use their computers and devices via a Wi-Fi connection. Many of the airlines operating today have added the service -- some free of charge and some not -- and Etihad Airways has now joined the group of airlines that offer the service.
Etihad Airways is one of the primary airlines operating in the United Arab Emirates, but they are not alone in the area. Emirates Airlines and Singapore Airlines also operate in the Middle East, and they offer the Wi-Fi service for their passengers, so it stands to reason that Etihad Airways would add the same service or face the possibility of losing passengers to airlines that do.
This week, Etihad Airways has announced they would start offering “Etihad Wi-Fly” to its passengers. There will be a charge for the privilege of using the Internet in the sky, and that charge will be $13.95 an hour or $24.95 for a twenty-four hour period. The company has high hopes that the service will be a success with its passengers, even though fellow airline Qantas Airways has stopped offering the service to its passengers due to lack of interest.
Etihad Airways, which has its headquarters in Abu-Dhabi and was founded in 2003, will start off slowly, by installing the Wi-Fi service in ten of its aircrafts by the end of March 2013. The airlines issued a statement that its plans will be fully implemented by the end of 2014, with every aircraft having the Wi-Fi service by that time.
There are currently twenty-seven commercial airlines that offer some form of Internet connectivity. Of those twenty-seven airlines, only one airline offers the service free of charge to its passengers, Norwegian Air. Scandinavian Airlines and Turkish Airlines have made the service available for the passengers without charge, but it is expected that they will eventually start charge passengers in the future.
Edited by Rich Steeves