KLM‘s short-haul WiFi service went live this week, just under six months after the carrier announced plans to update the fleet. The first two aircraft with the Viasat Ka-band satellite connectivity officially activated for passengers, with a free week before the regular, three-tier pricing plans kick in.
Being internet connected when on-the-go is a top priority for our customers… We believe this new collaboration will enable us to deliver more memorable connected experiences when passengers fly on Viasat-equipped KLM aircraft.– Boet Kreiken, executive vice president, Customer Experience, KLM
Three pricing plans are available with the service. The free Messaging tier offers 30 minutes of complimentary text messaging via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, among other messaging apps. The Surf and Stream options, available to purchase in-flight, give passengers the ability to do more on board, with options to surf the internet/email as well as enjoy full video and audio streaming.
The “Surf” pass prices at €8 for a full flight. The “Stream” option prices at €12 and includes access to stream music, audio and video (via Spotify, YouTube, Netflix, etc.).
Not a full fleet solution
KLM and Viasat announced the deal in November 2020. The first aircraft, a 737-800 registered as PH-BCE, began flying with the hardware installed in February. A second 737 now has the system installed as well. But until now details on how many aircraft remained elusive.
Just 18 of the carrier’s 49 737-800s are slated for connectivity install. The installation work should complete this year, with the carrier planning to have them in service by early 2022.
Connectivity is also confirmed for the new E195 fleet, but not all of the aircraft. The press release indicates 21 of the E195s will receive the system while the carrier holds firm orders for 25 of the type. KLM did not provide a reasoning for why some of the planes will not receive the system. Timing for installation on the E195 is also unclear; the company plans to announce specifics “at a later time.”
Conspicuously absent is mention of the E190 fleet.
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