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AirAsia and Malindo Air are bringing WiFi to the skies

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UPDATE: AirAsia commence free user trial of in-flight WiFi service.

When it’s time to fasten your seat belts and switch your phones to airplane mode, it marks a journey where you’re completely disconnected from the rest of the world. You could either have a nap or simply play with your smart phone in offline mode. That may not be the case in the near future as AirAsia and Malindo Air will be offering WiFi connectivity on their flights.

As more airlines are looking for a balance of cost efficiency and catching up with the latest consumer trends, some of them have started to order new planes without in-flight entertainment systems. This is to move towards a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) model in favour of providing WiFi and streaming content to your own personal device. Looks like this shift is happening in Malaysia already.

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Earlier today, AirAsia has conducted a trial run of its WiFi service which provided connectivity for instant messaging apps such as Line, WhatsApp and WeChat. So far they have yet to reveal any info of its WiFi service but it is likely to be a chargeable add-on for passengers.

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Meanwhile Malindo Air has also teased on their Facebook page that WiFi connectivity is coming soon. If the price is right, this would be a hot add-on for future travellers. Probably the only possible annoyance are passengers that repeatedly send and playback audio chats inconsiderably.

Using your mobile phone during flights isn’t entirely new. Several years back, both Maxis and DiGi offered in-flight coverage which is similar to international roaming. With exorbitant rates like RM15/minute for voice, RM2 per SMS and as high as RM100/MB, the service didn’t seem to take off that well.

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So are you looking forward to stay connected during flights? Leave your comments below.

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