KLM to offer Wi-Fi with free messaging on European flights
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KLM has begun equipping aircraft used for European service with Wi-Fi onboard, allowing passengers to keep connected whilst in the air.
A total of 18 Boing 737-800 aircraft will be equipped with the new service, powered by Viasat. The Wi-Fi installation across the 18 aircraft is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
Like its long-haul KLM counterparts, KLM’s European short-haul aircraft will be modified with Wi-Fi during regular maintenance checks, which means the rollout will take a considerable amount of time. The easiest way to find out if your flight has Wi-Fi onboard before your flight is to make use of KLM’s Flight Guide. All flight options, including the availability of Wi-Fi, will be available a couple of days before departure.
KLM has been in the process of installing Wi-Fi on its long-haul fleet in recent years. Currently, all Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A330 aircraft have Wi-Fi board, as well as the majority of Boeing 777s.
The new service will be offered via Viasat technology. Much like Wi-Fi on KLM long-haul flights and Wi-Fi on SkyTeam partners Delta Airlines and Air France, the service is offered according to a freemium pricing model. Messaging via WhatsApp, WeChat and equivalent services will be free. For a fee, there is a Surf or Stream package, with the latter offering sufficient bandwidth to stream video on Netflix and similar services.
Monday’s announcement from KLM follows British Airways, which completed Wi-Fi on board its entire A320-series fleet last January. Like KLM’s joint venture partner Delta Air Lines, KLM will offer a free messaging option.
Compared to the BA European Wi-Fi service, KLM’s is priced slightly higher. Next to free messaging, which BA does not offer, prices are as follows:
- Surf (whole flight): €8 (£7)
- Stream (whole flight): €12 (£10.50)
- Message (whole flight): £1.99 – £2.99
- Streaming (whole flight): £6.99 – £8.99
Ultimately, this is a positive development from KLM. As more passengers look to fly across Europe — whether for business or leisure — in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, offering connectivity for short jaunts is an important part of the onboard experience.
Featured image by Andreas Haas/Getty Images.
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