Singapore Airlines (SIA) is a very popular airline, and according to its website, one of the most awarded. But with the recent news that a passenger was charged about S$1,520 for using the Internet during his flight from London to Singapore on Nov 12, it seems that there are some changes that SIA needs to make.
According to Jeremy Gutsche, a Canadian entrepreneur and CEO of Trendhunter.com, he racked up the impossibly high internet costs not by watching several high definition videos or downloading terabytes of files, but simply by the wonders of incredibly slow internet. He describes his experience of the flight on TrendHunter.Com.
“So what does it take to rack up $1200 of internet use? In my case, just 155 page views, mostly to my email. I know this because for the first time I counted up my page views to see where all the dollars went. I wish I could blame an addiction to NetFlix or some intellectual documentary that made me $1200 smarter. However, the Singapore Airlines internet was painfully slow, so videos would be impossible and that means I didn’t get any smarter… except about how to charge a lot of money for stuff. I did learn that.
At one point, I spent about an hour uploading one 4mb powerpoint doc. That doc probably cost me $100 to upload, so I hope my team liked it. I actually even emailed them a warning that my upload was taking a while. That email probably cost me $10. And yes, the pricing per mb was disclosed on sign-up, but I bought the $30 package, slept through most the flight, and really didn’t think I’d end up a thousand bucks past the limit.”
When approached on the matter, an SIA spokesperson said to TODAY paper: “Mr Gutsche has contacted us with his feedback and we are following up directly with him on the matter.” SIA has also replied to Gutsche’s tweet about the matter with a similar, noncommittal message. No news yet on whether SIA will be refunding Gustche on his bill.
At this day and age, a 30MB package, like the one that Gutsche signed up for, seems almost archaic. There are airlines now that do charge internet use based on a per-device basis, or have much affordable packages available. Lucky from OneMileAtATime has pointed out that the cost of internet on an SIA flight costs much more than an Emirates flight, which charges $20 for 100MB of data. The blogpost also compared it to Lufthansa’s FlyNet, which offers a 24 hour pass with unlimited data for €17 (US$21).
And if Singapore Airlines is suffering from incredibly slow internet, then perhaps it is time for an upgrade. They have, after all, just spent US$313 million on revamping their First Class seats.
But until then, if you’re on an SIA flight, it’s best not to work at all.