Emirates has decided to cut complimentary wifi to reduce costs in these customer-starved times.
As the Centre For Aviation (CAPA) reported this morning, “free live TV” found itself on the chopping block too, as the Dubai-based carrier slashes unnecessary costs to get it through the current pandemic.
Aviation blog One Mile At A Time also picked up on the changes, reporting on Sunday, “Though Emirates hasn’t even resumed regularly scheduled operations yet, the airline is already making cuts to the onboard experience.”
“Emirates has now updated their website to reflect that they’re no longer offering free wifi. Rather for all passengers the wifi pricing and packages that are available vary by route.”
As Emirates, until now, has been a full-service airline, which provided all passengers with 20MB of free wifi throughout the flight (those at the pointy end got unlimited), you might think this decision would ruffle a lot of feathers.
Good change I would argue. Because the bandwidth was previously so clogged up the WiFi was impossible to use
— Dominicus (@DominicusHKG) May 16, 2020
However, passengers are unlikely to migrate to other airlines, we’d say due to this decision for two reasons. First: it’s likely to just be temporary (and if not, it will be reflective of an industry-wide trend).
Secondly: Emirates’ wifi (or any in-flight wifi we’ve ever had the misfortune of using), in our experience, never worked very well anyway (or only worked for an insanely short period of time, to do little more than send messages on FB or Whatsapp).
In any case, the decision has sparked debate amongst frequent flyers (see: Simple Flying and One Mile At A Time) about whether this is the beginning of the end for the golden age of cheap, accessory abundant travel.
“If Emirates is cutting costs in this way I unfortunately don’t have much faith for the rest of the industry when it comes to the onboard experience,” (One Mile At A Time).
“At this point I think the industry might be going back about a decade in time in terms of the passenger experience and soft product — while we’ll still have great seats in premium cabins, expect cost-cutting with just about everything else,” One Mile At A Time added.
“I’d be surprised if many US airlines continue to offer cookies or pretzels in economy, if Delta continues offering their elevated international economy experience, if American continues to operate Flagship First Dining, etc.”
Though only customer bookings (and Google Search volume for “Ryanair’s business model”) will tell, this comes in a context where, for this year at least, experts are predicting international travel may be reserved for Luxury Travellers Only.
Your caravan awaits…