Slowly but surely, in-flight Wi-Fi is rolling out across the major airlines, but there are still a few kinks to be ironed out — such as how much customers should be charged for getting online while in the air. Trend Hunter CEO Jeremy Gutsche recently got off a Singapore Airlines flight to find that he’d racked up $1,171.46 in data charges.
We’re used to holidaying tourists getting stung with unexpected data roaming charges from their mobile network but this is something a little more unusual. Gutsche says he managed to load up 155 pages of text — mostly emails — in return for the money he spent and that the “painfully slow” connection speed wasn’t suitable for any kind of heavy use.
“At one point, I spent about an hour uploading one 4MB PowerPoint doc,” writes Gutsche on his site. “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.”
Gutsche says “the sticker shock of being gouged $1,200” spoiled what was an otherwise enjoyable flight. As yet there’s been no response from Singapore Airlines but it seems the charges were laid out beforehand — in the not-too-distant future we should all be enjoying fast and low-cost connectivity on board aeroplanes, but for now, if your next flight offers the convenience of in-flight Internet access then make sure you know how much it’s going to cost you.