Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) says it will become one of the first airlines in the world to offer in-flight connectivity, including Internet and mobile services, when it begins offering the service in April 2011.
The airline has not yet chosen a provider of broadband in-flight-connectivity services. However, Star Alliance partner Singapore Airlines, which also recently announced it would begin offering full in-flight connectivity in the first half of 2011 (with mobile-phone voice service possibly among the services SIA makes available), has chosen OnAir as its broadband partner.
Scandinavian Airlines plans to offer in-flight connectivity first on European routes and then on intercontinental flights. The airline will offer the service free of charge to Business and Economy Extra (premium economy) customers, and as a fee-based option in Economy.
Broadband services aboard SAS flights will include full Internet access, online shopping, movies and other video content, games, destination information and bookable services at the destination city (e.g., taxicab service or hotel reservations), as well as real-time flight information.
“We are currently negotiating with a number of service providers and aim to offer our premium customers free internet onboard our flights, starting in April 2011,” says Robin Kamark, SAS’ chief commercial officer. “We are always looking for innovative ways to improve the travel experience for our customers. This in-flight broadband system allows us to customize a suite of Wi-Fi services for our customers – from movies and other entertainment for our leisure travelers to communication tools for our business travelers.”
Boeing 737s will be the first SAS aircraft to have in-flight connectivity installed. The service will initially be offered on Norwegian domestic routes, and from Oslo and Stockholm to London, Frankfurt and Paris. In the first phase, nine 737s will offer the service, followed by other short-haul and long-haul aircraft.
SAS serves Copenhagen and Stockholm non-stop from Newark, Chicago and Washington, D.C., and in March 2011 will launch non-stop service from Newark to Oslo. From its hubs at Copenhagen, Stockholm and Oslo, SAS serves cities throughout Scandinavia and Europe.