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Emirates hotspots flying high

Emirates has enabled WiFi internet access on five of its Airbus planes, giving travelers the chance to check e-mail on their notebooks as they cruise the skies at 40,000 feet.

Emirates has enabled WiFi internet access on five of its Airbus planes, giving travelers the chance to check e-mail on their own notebooks as they cruise at 40,000 feet.

Planes traveling on routes between Dubai and New York, Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland and Christchurch have been initially selected to run the service, which Emirates is offering at half-price between now and September.

Mike Simon, senior vice president, corporate communications, Emirates, said: "The usage of our existing seatback e-mail services onboard confirms that our passengers rely heavily on online communications to conduct their business and social interaction worldwide. Time, for many of our passengers, definitely is money.

"Understanding this need, Emirates has invested in the latest technology, making it possible for our customers to make the most of their time aloft by staying connected during the flight. Wi-Fi is fast catching on as the connection of choice on the ground and we felt that no effort or expense must be spared to provide our passengers with the latest technology to stay connected in the air as well."

The price of the service after Emirates’ initial three-month promotion ends will be $20 per flight. This deal will give users the chance to send and receive an unlimited number of e-mails, though only up to a total of four kilobytes in size (equivalent to roughly three pages of text). Uploading or downloading additional data will be charged at a cost of 60 cents per kilobyte.

A ‘check mail’ service, which will cost $10 from September onwards, is also available for users who need only to monitor their messages. Should they then want to increase their usage, this will be charged using the same 60 cents per kilobyte tariff.

This WiFi access is being offered alongside the seatback e-mail and SMS services already available on Emirates’ A340-500 planes. These services allow passengers to send e-mails and SMS messages during their flights using on-screen keyboards. The airline’s first and business class lounges at Dubai International Airport also are equipped with Wi-Fi technology.

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