In-flight wifi on Asia-Pacific airlines: what you need to know

Cathay Pacific business class

Air New Zealand

Wifi?
Launching second half of 2017

Pricing
Expected to be announced in first half of 2017

In October last year, Air New Zealand announced it would begin introducing inflight wifi on board its flights starting from the second half of 2017. Flights between New Zealand and Australia are set to be the first to receive the service, with wifi progressively being made available aboard its Tasman, Pacific Island and long-haul jet fleets from the end of 2017. Domestic flights will the last to get the service, with introduction set for 2018.

Traditionally low satellite service quality across oceanic areas (over which many of Air New Zealand’s flights travel) has meant the airline has held back on introducing an inflight wifi offering until a service of suitably high quality became available. The airline’s wifi will be provided by Inmarsat’s global GX satellite constellation, and integrated with the Air New Zealand’s Panasonic Avionics system.

airnewzealand.com

ANA

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
B777-300ER, B767-300ER (only those configured with 202 seats), B787-9, B787-8 (only those configured with 240 seats), A320neo

Pricing
B777-300ER and B767-300ER:

US$4.95 – 30 minutes, 15MB limit
US$8.95 – one hour, 30MB limit
US$19.95 – full flight, 100MB limit

B787-9, B787-8 and A320neo:

US$6.95 – 30 minutes
US$16.95 – three hours
US$21.95 – full flight (max 24 hours)

All Nippon Airways’ (ANA) inflight wifi offering gives access to functions such as web browsing and email functions. Video streaming is not supported, and image loading is likely to burn through your data quite quickly.

For travellers flying on ANA’s B777-300ER and B767-300ER, the service is only available when flying over transoceanic airspace and countries that permit the use of satellite activity, while B787 and A320 inflight connectivity is available in all airspaces.

ana.co.jp

Cathay Pacific

Wifi?
Yes

Aircraft
A350

Class
Available to all classes

Pricing
US$9.95 – one hour continuous use on all flights
US$12.95 – flights of six hours or less
US$19.95 – flights of six hours or more

Cathay Pacific currently offers wifi only on its fleet of A350s, the first of which it deployed to Auckland in October 2016. A few services are available complimentary – including the airline’s own website, its duty free catalogue, and destination information – though for functions such as general web browsing and email, a fee is required.

cathaypacific.com

China Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Classes
Available to all classes

Aircraft
B777-300ER, A350

Pricing
TW$350 (US$11.6) – one hour
TW$500 (US$16.5) – three hours
TW$650 (US$21.5) – 24 hours

Inflight wifi on China Airlines has no data limit and while the overall speed may make certain functions difficult, this does provide reassurance for those that tend to quickly eat through data that they won’t be prematurely cut off from the service.

Purchasing wifi can be done on the flight or ahead of time via the airline’s website.

china-airlines.com

Eva Air

Wifi?
Yes

Classes
Available to all classes

Aircraft
B777-300ER (select aircraft)

Pricing
US$11.95 – one hour
US$16.95 – three hours
US$21.95 – 24 hours

It is worth noting that Taiwan-based Eva Air’s service provider is currently applying for an operating permit with the Chinese Government, however until then internet connectivity gets temporarily disconnected when flying over mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau with the carrier.

On the plus side, however, for longer journeys across multiple segments, travellers can re-connect to Eva Air’s wifi network using the same account information, provided the ensuing leg is also operated by an Eva Wifi-enabled aircraft.

evaair.com

Garuda Indonesia

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes (complimentary for first class passengers)

Aircraft
B777-300ER, A330-300, A330-200

Pricing
US$11.95 – one hour, 30MB limit
US$16.95 – three hours, 50MB limit
US$21.95 – 24 hours (whole flight on A330-300 and A330-200), 100MB limit

Garuda Indonesia’s wifi offering is provided on a time-based system with varying caps depending on the duration. In addition to the service being complimentary to all first class passengers, those in other classes travelling on Garuda’s wifi-equipped Airbus aircraft are able to get 15 minutes’ free wifi connectivity.

While the service is suitable for social media as well as general web browsing, regular image loading will likely drain your data quite quickly.

garuda-indonesia.com

Japan Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Aircraft
B777-300ER, B777-200ER, B767-300ER, B787

Class
Available to all classes (complimentary for first class passengers)

Pricing
US$10.15 – one hour
US$14.40 – three hours
US$18.80 – 24 hours

Japan Airlines offers inflight wifi based on overall duration used, with its 24-hour offering also including connecting flights for 24 hours from the initial log in. Data caps are also not present regardless of payment category.

A full list of the routes on which Japan Airlines offers wifi can be found here, with many only being available until and from certain dates. The airline’s fleet of B787s is also not fully equipped with wifi, so connectivity is not guaranteed, though travellers on these aircraft can check whether inflight wifi will be available on their flight the day before they travel.

jal.co.jp

Korean Air

Wifi?
No

Korea’s national carrier currently doesn’t offer inflight wifi across any of its aircraft, and has not issued plans to do so in the forseeable future.

In an interview with the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX), Korean Air’s senior innovation technology manager, Dante Dionne, shed some light on why this is the case: “In Korea, the wireless infrastructure is so advanced (significantly faster than the US average) that in-flight internet services based on existing commercial satellite technology would be disappointing to them. That is a primary reason why Korean Air has not implemented in-flight internet.”

koreanair.com

Malaysia Airlines

Wifi?
No

Malaysia Airlines also doesn’t offer inflight wifi on its flights at present. That said, the airline plans to introduce the service onboard its new A350s, the first of which it is expecting to take delivery of this year. Auckland is currently scheduled to be the first long-haul route served by its new A350. Details of the inflight wifi service have yet to be announced.

malaysiaairlines.com

Philippine Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
Select aircraft on international flights

Pricing
US$10 – 35MB/one hour
US$40 – 150MB/flight duration

Up until February 28, 2017, Philippine Airlines offered the first 30 minutes of inflight wifi (limited to 15MB) free of charge to all passengers. The hourly rate and data offered is also reasonably priced, compared to other airlines in Asia-Pacific.

The full-flight bracket, however, is particularly expensive. While it does offer 150MB of data (caps for full-flight/24-hour purchases typically stand at 100MB), the US$40 price is noticeably more expensive than most other carriers in the region.

Purchases can be made either by credit card or by purchasing a scratch card from cabin crew.

philippineairlines.com

Qantas

Wifi?
Domestic trials began April 7, 2017

Class
Available to all classes on domestic flights

Aircraft
One wifi-enabled B737-800 aircraft; to be rolled out to 80 aircraft by end of 2018

Pricing
Free

Qantas launched a beta mode of its new Viasat and Nbn’s Sky Muster-enabled inflight wifi service earlier this month. Outfitted on a single B737-800 aircraft that will be flying domestic routes during the trial phase, the high-speed wifi is being offered free of charge for travellers on board the aircraft (due to likely last-minute changes, the specific routes the aircraft will be flying are subject to change, and passengers won’t be able to select a flight on board the wifi-enabled aircraft at this time).

Perhaps the most notable two features of Qantas’ new wifi offering are its speed and its price. Qantas claims that the new offering will be ten times faster than conventional onboard wifi, enabling functions such as video and music streaming (services such as Netflix, Spotify, Stan and Foxtel will be available through partnerships). The other is that the airline aims to keep the service included as part of the ticket fare.

Qantas expects to roll out wifi across 80 of its aircraft, for completion by the end of 2018. The airline is also currently in discussions with suppliers to develop a product for its international fleet.

qantas.com.au

Singapore Airlines

Wifi?
Yes

Aircraft
A380, A350, B777-300ER (progressively)

Class
Available to all classes

Pricing
Volume-based (all A380 and select B777-300ER)

US$6.99 – 15MB
US$12.99 – 30MB
US$19.99 – 50MB

Time-based (All A350 and select B777-300ER)

US$11.95 – one hour
US$16.95 – three hours
US$21.95 – 24 hours

Singapore Airlines has a somewhat confusing pricing structure regarding its inflight wifi, owing largely to its partnership with two different providers, Onair and Panasonic. As such, price plans come in two variations, depending on provider and the type of aircraft – volume based or time based.

Prices tend to be more expensive than the majority of other Asia-Pacific airlines – most notably its highest-volume 50MB bracket offering about half as much data as that offered by most other airlines’ top bracket (100MB), but still costing a similar price.

What’s also worth noting here is that volume-based plans are only valid for the leg on which they are purchased. An onward journey, even if it is on the next sector of the same flight, requires another purchase. Time-based purchases, however, can be transferred across multi-sector flights.

singaporeair.com

Thai Airways

Wifi?
Yes

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
A350-900XWD, A380-800, A330-300

Pricing
US$4.99 – 10MB
US$8.99 – 20MB
US$12.99 – 30MB
US$34.99 – 100MB

Thai Airways offers inflight wifi on a number of its aircraft, with its A350s powered by Panasonic and its A380 and A330s provided by Sitaonair. The airline’s six wifi-enabled A380s currently operate flights to Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo Narita, London and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile its seven wifi-enabled A330s fly to Tokyo Narita, Taipei-Seoul, Hong Kong, Taipei, Yangon, Beijing, Hanoi, Dubai, Ho Chi Minh City, Tokyo Haneda, Kuala Lumpur and Fukuoka.

The airline’s data-based rather than duration-focused pricing structure may confuse some flyers less familiar with average data-consumption rates. As a rough guide, 10MB will likely get you through roughly 30 minutes of general web browsing and email. Similarly to Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways’ prices are also quite expensive compared to many other Asia-Pacific airlines, with its US$34.99 for 100MB top-tier price being noticeably pricier than most other carriers’ highest wifi brackets.

thaiairways.com

Virgin Australia

Wifi?
Domestic trials began April 20, 2017

Class
Available to all classes

Aircraft
One wifi-enabled B737-800; to be rolled out across B737-800s, A330s and B777s

Pricing
To be confirmed after trial period completes

Less than two weeks after rival Australian carrier Qantas began trialling a new domestic inflight wifi offering, Virgin Australia launched its own domestic three-month testing period using the same aircraft, a B737-800. During the testing period, passengers will be able to use the wifi free of charge, though the final pricing of the service has yet to be announced and will be determined following customer feedback during the trial.

As with Qantas’ wifi offering, Virgin Australia’s will support video and music streaming, notably through Netflix, Pandora and Stan. Unlike Qantas’, however, Virgin Australia’s wifi is expected to be rolled out across its fleet of B737-800s, A330s and B777s for both domestic and international flights.

virginaustralia.com

Garuda Indonesia to cut first class to London

Garuda Indonesia B777-300ER first class

Garuda Indonesia will no longer be offering first class seating to London from June 20 onwards as it looks to switch from a three-class to two-class Boeing B777-300ER, according industry website airlineroute.net.

The configuration change for flights GA086/87 on the carrier’s Jakarta-Singapore-London Heathrow route will increase the overall number of seats from 314 to 393 at the expense of its first class cabin.

While airlineroute.net reported the change on Friday, February 3, at the time of writing Garuda is still offering first class seats on the route on its website.

Garuda currently operates the route three times weekly, with its Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday schedule not expected to change.

Full details for the Jakarta (CGK)-Singapore (SIN)-London Heathrow (LHR) route are as follows:

Flight No.FromToDepartsArrivesDays
GA086CGKSIN07451035Tue, Sat, Sun
SINLHR12001855
GA087LHRSIN21101730+1Tue, Sat, Sun

garuda-indonesia.com

Garudamiles offering 90 per cent redemption discount

Executive-Class-Photo-Spread-(Executive)

Members of Garuda Indonesia’s frequent flyer programme, Garudamiles, can receive a 90 per cent redemption discount when redeeming flights on all the carrier’s domestic and international routes.

The offer is applicable to seats booked in first, business and economy class and is running until December 31, 2016 for flights between February 1 and May 31, 2017.

All members of Garudamiles are eligible for the redemption discount.

garuda-indonesia.com

Garuda prepares to serve the US

Garuda aircraft

Garuda Indonesia is preparing to launch flights to the US next year, following the FAA’s decision to upgrade Indonesia’s aviation safety status to Category 1 last month.

Speaking to The Jakarta Post, Garuda spokesperson Benny Butarbutar commented: “The plan to fly a US route is a business expansion [decision] to strengthen Garuda Indonesia’s position as a global aviation player. We immediately are taking all actions needed to realise the plan.”

Butarbutar revealed that Garuda would operate its US flights via Tokyo Narita using the wide-body B777-300ER. Not only will this benefit the airline in terms of aircraft utilisation, but Garuda will be able to leverage off feeder traffic from the Japanese market as well.

“Japan provides fifth freedom traffic rights for Indonesian airlines, which allows Garuda to add a load factor before flying to the US”, Butarbutar said.

For more information, visit garuda-indonesia.com

Clement Huang

Garuda moves domestic operations to Terminal 3 Ultimate at Jakarta airport

Garuda aircraft

Garuda Indonesia has become the first carrier to operate flights from the new Terminal 3 Ultimate at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport.

According to The Jakarta Post, state airport operator Angkasa Pura II (AP II) has confirmed that Indonesia’s national carrier moved its domestic flights to the new terminal last week.

“We currently operate 40 percent of the total area of Terminal 3 Ultimate for Garuda Indonesia domestic flights only. International flights still operate from Terminal 2E,” said AP II’s head of corporate and legal affairs, Agus Haryadi to the Jakarta newspaper.

Passengers flying with Garuda that have not been made aware of the change can use a bus shuttle service to travel from Terminal 2F to Terminal 3 Ultimate.

Meanwhile, in order to allow construction of the connection link between Terminal 3 and Terminal 3 Ultimate to begin, AP II will soon be moving a number of carriers out of Terminal 3. Air Asia will move to terminals 2E and 2F, while Lion Air will operate from Terminal 1B.

As previously reported, Terminal 3 Ultimate was originally slated to open in July but this was subsequently delayed as officials at Indonesia’s Transportation Ministry determined that the lack of back-up electricity, defective toilets, and an obstructed view from the air traffic control tower would be too much of an operational risk.

For more information, visit soekarnohatta-airport.co.id

Clement Huang

Garuda Indonesia to re-launch Jakarta–Nagoya route

Garuda Indonesia (GA) has announced it will begin flying to Nagoya (Centrair) from March 2015. The new route, operating out of the carrier’s base at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta, is being introduced to meet strong market demand and broaden the airline’s presence in Japan.

The new route will be served by an Airbus A330-200 sporting a two-class configuration, with 36 in business class and 186 in economy. Click here to view a seat plan.

With the new Jakarta–Nagoya service, GA will serve Japan with 44 weekly rotations. The airline currently operates flights from both Jakarta and Denpasar to Osaka (Kansai), Tokyo (Narita) and Tokyo (Haneda).

GA has an established codeshare agreement with All Nippon Airways (ANA), which will facilitate easy connections to domestic destinations in Japan, including Fukuoka, Saporro and Okinawa.

In addition, Japan also acts as a connecting hub for GA passengers flying to North America. A codeshare agreement with Delta Airlines has allowed both carriers to time their flights conveniently, thereby allowing those travelling with GA to Tokyo (Haneda) to connect onto Delta flights bound for Los Angeles or Seattle (see here).

For more information, visit garuda-indonesia.com

Clement Huang

All that glistens is not gold – Garuda Indonesia in trouble?

Indonesian national carrier Garuda Indonesia (GA) continues to bleed red ink. Results from the first-half of 2014 are out and they are disappointing, to say the least. GA made a loss of US$212 million in the first half of this year, compared with a US$11 million loss in the the same period a year-ago.

The news might come as a surprise to some, given GA’s strides toward improvement in the past few years. The carrier initiated a turnaround plan in 2009 dubbed the “Quantum Leap” that saw significant investments in fleet renewal, personnel training and service.

Garuda Indonesia’s Boeing 777-300ER

Initially, this led to impressive results; GA was taken off the list of airlines banned from flying into the European Union. It then placed significant long-haul aircraft orders and announced ambitious expansion plans, including the launch of services from Jakarta to Amsterdam, London and Rome.

However, to date none of these new European services have actually been realised with the notable exception of a daily Amsterdam service that’s been in the roster for years now, but used to be operated by an A330 via Abu Dhabi before the B777-300ERs joined GA’s fleet. The long-awaited London (Gatwick) tag-on has not yet materialised, but is now bookable from Nov1.

Initially, B777-300ER operations at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport (CGK) were restricted because the local runway wasn’t long enough to support a fully-loaded B777-300ERs take-off run.

Award-winning crew

GA also ordered ten B777-300ERs (five of which have been delivered so far) and decided to re-introduce first class on the model, meaning the aircraft feature a 314-seat configuration of eight first class beds, 38 executive (business) class sleepers and 268 economy seats.

Since the new European services haven’t come through yet, GA has had to deploy their B777s on regional medium- to short-haul routes – a real ‘waste’ of the aircraft that’s now beginning to show on the carrier’s balance sheet.

First class on the B777-300ER

The introduction of first class also seems to have backfired on GA, which is only natural given the carrier’s large-scale absence from long-haul premium routes. Sources close to the airline revealed that load factors in first class have been ‘disastrous’ ever since its introduction in 2013.

Domestic and regional traffic hasn’t been showing positive signs either. GA has been facing extreme competition from low-cost carriers (LCCs) on practically all its routes. And that’s no surprise; Indonesia’s home to a plethora of fledgling LCCs all waiting to gnaw at GA’s market share. Lion Air, AirAsia Indonesia and Sriwijaya Air are GA’s biggest domestic and regional competitors after Merpati and Tigerair Mandala ceased operations earlier this year.

IFE system in first class

More trouble is on the horizon for GA’s international expansion plans. AirAsia Group president and CEO Tony Fernandes is launching AirAsia X Indonesia operations later this year, aiming to connect the Indonesian archipelago with long-haul services to Europe and northern Asia. An order for 50 new A330neo placed at the Farnborough Airshow in July only served to confirm these plans.

GA is now embarking on a money-saving mission. It suspended its ambitions for flights to India and the Philippines and is now reviewing existing routes singled out for possible service reduction and/or cancellation. Further to that, GA is in negotiations with manufacturers over the deferment of new aircraft orders, whilst speeding up the retirement and disposal of older aircraft.

Happier times – joining Skyteam in March 2014

Indonesia, the region’s largest market by a wide margin, has emerged as one of the most dynamic and biggest aviation growth markets in the world. Indonesia’s domestic market grew by over 20% a year for the last three years consecutive, making it the world’s fifth largest domestic market after the US, China, Brazil and Japan.

For more information, visit garuda-indonesia.com

Dominic Sebastian Lalk

Garuda Indonesia reinstates Jakarta–Haneda service

Garuda Indonesia has reinstated its Jakarta–Haneda service after more than 30 years.

The single daily service sees flight GA874 depart Jakarta at 1305 and touch down in Haneda at 2235. On the return leg, GA875 takes off from Haneda at 0030 before arriving back in Jakarta at 0600.

The direct service complements Garuda’s existing daily Bali Denpasar–Tokyo Haneda operation. For the Jakarta–Haneda route, the carrier deploys an Airbus A330-300 that features a two-class configuration with 36 seats in business and 215 in economy.

Garuda Indonesia president chief executive Emirsyah Satar pointed out that the new route connects the Indonesian capital to a wider codeshare network. “The service allows Garuda Indonesia passengers to continue their journey to other cities in Japan with connecting All Nippon Airways flights, or eventually to the United States with codeshare Delta Air Lines flights,” said Satar.

Garuda Indonesia currently codeshares with ANA on flights to various Japanese destinations including Fukuoka, Sapporo and Okinawa. In addition, the airline also places its carrier code on Delta’s flights to Los Angeles and Seattle. All services depart through Tokyo-Haneda.

With the opening of the Jakarta–Haneda service, Garuda Indonesia currently operates 39 weekly flights to Japan, with the other routes being Jakarta–Osaka (Kansai), Denpasar–Osaka (Kansai), Jakarta–Tokyo (Narita), Denpasar–Tokyo (Narita) and Denpasar–Tokyo (Haneda).

For more information, visit garuda-indonesia.com

Clement Huang