Emirates made an announcement last month (read more here) that they would eventually offer their WiFi connectivity free for all the passengers on their flights.
I had a Qatar Airways flight from Bangkok to Doha last night on-board an Airbus A380 aircraft (I changed the flight day before to catch A380 instead of their 77W as I had not been on QR one previously) and though that I could get some work done during the flight. How wrong I was!
OnAir, based in Switzerland, uses on-board server that connects to a satellite that communicates with OnAir’s servers on the ground that processes the requests and beams them back.
Price of OnAir
As you can see from the screenshots above, the price of the “bundles” offered are dependent of the device type that you use to initiate the connection from. Once you have registered for the service, you can use one of the mobile options on your laptop as well.
Here’s where the problems started and should have given up even trying to use it.
The sign up page timed out at least three times after I had entered my billing info and clicked to proceed. There was no notifications from OnAir that the transaction had gone through or been declined.
After the three or so tries, I logged into the service only to find out that the purchase had been successful.
Issues With The Service
Well. Most of the pages were timing out most of the time. You can forget trying to use Speedtest…
or even reading WSJ…
although the web page did come up after a few minutes as a text version…..
Then I decided to run the Tracert to see where the issue might be…
Most of the requests were simply timing out….
I had purchased the 3 hour mobile plan, but the service was unusable due to “flying over an area where internet use is not allowed” for more than half of that time. This didn’t stop OnAir keep deducting time from the usage plan, however.
OnAir was so kind to send a receipt by email after the 3 hours of mostly unsusable time was up. Not sure where they get the total number of MBs transferred.
In its current form, the service is completely unusable for anything else than basic email and very lite Facebook/Twitter usage. I should have just spent the entire time at the bar instead of dealing with this internet issue.
On a side note, it appears the Internet was one of many “bugs” still in Qatars A380 product. The seat that I had didn’t have a functioning entertainment system. The language was set to German and, according to it, we were flying from Doha to Chicago. Also, there were no movies or TV shows available. The crew rebooted it twice, but didn’t help with the issues.