A Singapore Airlines passenger was astonished to learn that he was being charged $1,171 for wifi usage during his flight from London to Singapore last Thursday. A Canadian man named Jeremy Gutsche purchased a 30MB package for $28.99, but landed with an additional $1,142 in overage charges.
Gutsche told the Daily Mail that he "was gouged" for only 155 page views, and a four megabyte file upload. While the pricing for data usage on airlines might by a racket, Gutsche has nobody to blame but himself. He admitted that he knew the pricing was per megabyte used, and that he ignored the fine print, saying "And yes, the pricing per (megabyte) was disclosed on sign-up, but I bought the $30 package, slept through most [of] the flight, and really didn't think I'd end up a thousand bucks past the limit."
Gutsche, the CEO of a company called Trend Hunter called the service provided by OnAir "painfully slow," and said his four megabyte upload of a Powerpoint deck took an hour to complete. He told the Mail "that document probably cost me $100 to upload, so I hope my team liked it." He even emailed the airline during the flight to express his frustration over the speed of the service.
Singapore A380 economy cabin (via Flickr user DearEdward w/ CC Commercial License)
Singapore Airlines offers different pricing options for its wifi service, based on either time or data amount used. Passengers are given the option to have the service automatically disconnect when they reach their time or data limit, so there is some protection built in for the consumer. Gutsche said:
"I can think of a lot of other things I'd rather spend $1,200 on, like a flight… to Singapore! But alas, I've already done that and the flight ended up costing way more than expected."
He's currently trying to work things out with Singapore Airlines, who said they will follow up with him on the matter directly. I've only been on one flight that didn't have a flat fee for wifi use during the whole flight, which was on United, between Denver and Las Vegas. Being a relatively short flight, I only bought an hour, which only cost me $2.00. Mr. Gutsche might be able to write this off as a business expense, but let this be a lesson learned for us all, when purchasing wifi services on our next flight.
Top photo via Allen Watkin (Flickr / CC Commercial License)