May 19 2023  |  Connectivity & Satellites

Free in-app messaging for all Emirates passengers

By Stephanie Philp

To date, Emirates has invested more than US$ 300 million dollars into onboard connectivity

Emirates is offering free in-app messaging to passengers in every class if they sign up to Emirates Skywards. The service is available to all passengers regardless of awards tier (Blue, Silver, Gold or Platinum). According to a recent release, an additional 30,000 Economy Class passengers weekly have been connecting to Wi-Fi onboard since the free service was introduced in January.

“Additionally,” a recent release details, “First Class passengers will have unlimited free internet if they are Skywards members, enabling them to shop or work online while in flight, as will Silver, Gold and Platinum Skywards members travelling in Business Class. Platinum Skywards members have complimentary internet access in all classes.”

With an average of 450,000 users per month, Emirates is reporting a “30 percent increase of passenger use in 2023 versus the same period last year.” The release details that “almost 10 percent of all passengers are utilizing the complimentary onboard Wi-Fi” and “On routes through the Americas, almost 20 percent of passengers connect to Wi-Fi onboard” while on European and African routes the usage is more than 11 percent of all passengers. Passengers can join Emirates Skywards for free via,, the official Emirates app, or the flydubai app and directly from the Wi-Fi portal onboard.

"Emirates has persistently worked with our service providers to optimize and improve the connectivity experience,” Patrick Brannelly, SVP Retail, IFE & Connectivity said in the release.

To date, Emirates has invested more than US$ 300 million dollars into onboard connectivity.

“In March we delivered about 55 percent more data per customer session compared to early 2022 despite the number of sessions increasing by 68 percent in the same period. We will continue to work to invest in upgrades and enhancements, and our A350 aircraft will arrive with the next generation of satellite connectivity already equipped,” Brannelly said.

In the same release, Emirates also announced that it will offer high-speed, inflight broadband powered by Inmarsat’s GX Aviation onboard 50 new Airbus A350 aircraft that are scheduled to enter service in 2024. “The new agreement will significantly improve the passenger experience with enhanced connectivity and greater global coverage, even on flights over the Arctic,” the release said.

“The Airbus A350s will be the first Emirates aircraft to take advantage of Inmarsat’s Global Xpress (GX) satellite network, which powers the world’s first and only globally available broadband network, ensuring passengers can enjoy uninterrupted global connectivity, no matter their destination, including the North Pole. The advanced high-speed capabilities of the broadband will enable Emirates passengers to stay connected with family and friends, browse the internet, and enjoy social media, all from the comfort of their seat.”

Lastly, Emirates confirmed “an investment of over US$ 350 million to equip a 50-strong fleet of A350s coming in 2024 with enhanced passenger connectivity via Thales’ AVANT Up system and Optiq — the first smart display in the industry to offer two Bluetooth connections, built-in Wi-Fi for passengers to pair multiple devices including phones, tablets, headphones or even game controllers while supporting up to 60 watts USB-C to fast-charge personal devices.”

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