From mid-March onwards passengers on KLM long-haul flights to New York, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Cape Town, Dubai, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing and Manila will be able to send and receive SMS text messages and email thanks to a new partnership with OnAir.
ÊFollowing a successful trial, KLM is now modifying the In-flight Entertainment (IFE) system on its ten Boeing 777s to provide the service developed by OnAir, the company which specializes in enabling in-flight passenger communication for short and long-haul aircraft.
KLM will also install the OnAir service on six new Airbus A330s flying mainly to the Middle East and Africa from August onwards.
“We have tested the system on a number of flights. The feedback from passengers and crew has been very positive. The system works well and passengers really loved the fact that they could stay in touch via data communication with friends, family and business colleagues,” said Franc Vink, KLM Product Strategy Manager.
“We are excited that we will be able to offer the service on both Boeing and Airbus long-haul aircraft.Ê The same OnAir SMS and email serviceÊ will also be available to KLM customers flying to the States on A330s ofÊ our partner Northwest Airlines,” said Vink.
The easy-to-use system is part of the in-seat IFE unit and costs $2.50 for each message received or sent. The passenger is totally in control and pays with a credit card. Incoming messages are only paid for if the passenger decides to open them after viewing the subject and the sender’s name.
“OnAir is very pleased with this partnership with one of the world’s leading airlines. It is a service that will give KLM additional appeal as our research tells us that passengers on long-haul flights in particular, want the assurance that they can keep in two-way contact with home and the office from their aircraft seat. They will be able to communicate with any GSM-enabled mobile phone and any email address. It’s a significant competitive advantage for the airline,” said OnAir CEO, George Cooper.
KLM has plans to promote the service heavily. In April,Ê when all aircraft are equipped with the service, they will run a short video on each flight advertising the service. There will also be on-board announcements and significant promotion in KLM’s in-flight magazine.