Should Passengers All Pay the Same for Inflight Wi-Fi?

Travelers have been griping  for years that hotels should offer in-room Wi-Fi free. Especially top-tier hotels. After all, if you’re paying a premium for your room, the rate should include a basic modern necessity like Wi-Fi. Or so goes the reasoning among disgruntled guests. (Hotels often have a different point of view, of course, and some valid arguments about installation and maintenance costs.)

But that’s hotels. What about airplanes? Many have hailed 2012 as the “year of inflight Wi-Fi” and indeed many airlines are either offering or about to offer it. Not for free, of course.

On Emirates for instance you might get a choice of either 5 MB for US$7.50 (plus 10 cents per 100 KB additional) or 25 MB for US$15 (plus 10 cents per 100 KB additional). On Singapore Airlines you might pay US$12 for 10 MB of data, or US$30 for 26 MB.

Sure, go ahead and gripe. But it’s a bit harder to argue that this new service should be free throughout an airplane. Travelers generally understand that something this new needs to start off, at least, with a price attached. Maybe one day inflight Wi-Fi will be offered on every mom-and-pop budget airline. That day is still a long ways off.

Still, just to stir things up a bit, we’ll pose this question: Should the price of Wi-Fi be the same in every service class? First class passengers after all pay far more for their tickets than economy class passengers. And should passengers paying a hefty premium for the Singapore Airlines Suites class get charged the same amount as everyone else on the plane? It’s easy to imagine such passengers wondering why.

Let us know what you think about the matter in the comments section below, or find us on Twitter or Facebook and tell us there. Or just email us.

Photo courtesy of OnAir.

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