Tuesday, February 09, 2016

AirAsia in-flight WiFi service: The Good, the bad and the ugly part of it...

It has been couple of years since I last flew AirAsia. This time I noticed that AirAsia has introduced inflight WiFi. I was excited to see this sticker near the door as I entered, but my excitement was short lived. This post is a quick review of the service. 
The Good:
There is an option to communicate with people on the ground. If you have an emergency or an urgent message to be passed on to your boss/subordinate or to a family member then there is an option. You can buy AirAsia's inflight WiFi for 9/MYR and send across the message on Whatsapp.

Without in-flight WiFi, you are totally disconnected from take off to landing. Should you miss a critical communication, it will have to wait till you land. I had experienced free inflight WiFi in Norwegian in Europe. Many other airlines are yet to wake up to this possibility. So having some connectivity is good than having no connectivity. 

The Air Asia in-flight Wifi provided by provides free access to Air Asia's inflight magazine and the section that lists shopping items. If you don't want to read physical magazine or can't search, searching on the Rokki website is easier. While TRAI in India has voted for Net Neutrality, I see in many countries that differentiated pricing is already in place.

The Bad: the internet access is not for everything. It can be used only for whatapp and few other messaging services. You can't browse net or download stuff or do various other things we do on internet. The 18 MYR package reportedly gives you access to few more services like Gmail and outlook, but no unrestricted access.

And the Ugly part of AirAsia in-flight WiFi: there is a 3MB data limit on MYR9 plan, which is like carrying around a 1.4 MB floppy disc while everyone around are having Multi-GB pen drives or SD cards. You will exhaust this if you download or upload a few images. You need to be real quick to send across your message.
Be sure to turn off "download photos n videos while connected over WiFi" option in your whatsApp settings. Else within minutes of connecting several pics and videos shared in various groups that you are member of, will exhaust 3MB limit. The other 18 MYR pack gets you 10 MB, again not decent enough. You will end up buying renewals every 20-30 minutes at this rate if you are a heavy data user.
9 MYR is about INR 160. If the critical information that you need to pass on is worth more than this amount, then it is worth trying it. Even then, I feel it is good initiative from Air Asia, hopefully it will get better over time- something like 1 hour/100 MB unrestricted access for Rs 1000?

In other minor updates, AirAsia has started issuing proper boarding passes and not paper thin passes. In-flight advertising has increased. On board sale items seem reasonably priced. I had tender coconut for MYR6.


Arun Prasadh said...

Good to have some connectivity but 3MB is nothing now a days.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Yes. Exactly

Ranjana's craft blog said...

3MB data ! very less. But something is better than nothing .

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Yes Ranjana. Thanks

Nisha said...

That's a shame to offer 3MB !

It is just for a namesake.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

True. May be they bought a cheap package from airtel with low FUP :)

Hopefully it will improve in future to more practical levels.