A Singapore Airlines passenger got a massive bill shock when he was charged US$1,200 (S$1,558) for using the internet while on a flight from London to Singapore.
Jeremy Gutsche, who is the CEO of online magazine TrendHunter.com, first shared about his experience on his website, which was later picked up by media outlets in Australia, US and United Kingdom.
According to the Canadian CEO, the bill amounted to the hefty sum of $1,500 after he racked up a mere 155-page views, mostly which were for emails.
To add insult to injury, Gutsche said that the internet onboard Singapore Airlines was excruciatingly slow. "At one point, I spent about an hour uploading one 4MB PowerPoint doc," Gutsche wrote.
Singapore Airlines currently has two price plans for its in-flight connectivity service: Volume-based (e.g. US$9.99 for 10 MB) or time-based (e.g. US$11.95 for 1 hour).
Gutsche purchased the package that entitled him to 30MB for US$28.99, but he busted the 30MB and that cost him a whopping US$1,142.47.
Other international airlines such as British Airways and Qatar Airways do charge for inflight internet connectivity at international mobile phone roaming rates.
Emirates currently allows its passengers to use the first 10MBs of data for free, and a token US$1 charge is imposed for the next 600MB. But the gulf carrier wants to challenge the status quo.
Earlier this month (Nov), Emirates CEO Sir Tim Clark said, "We've always viewed Wi-Fi as a service and a value-added part of Emirates' overall product, rather than a revenue stream."
What does this mean for disgruntled passengers like Gutsche?
"If we can offer good quality Wi-Fi connections for everyone onboard at no charge tomorrow, we will do it. But we face a slew of technical limitations - from speed and bandwidth availability and cost, to the supporting hardware and software - all of which we are working hard to address with the industry right now," Sir Clark added.
"Ultimately, we believe that onboard Wi-Fi will become a free service, and a standard that customers will expect on a full-service airline, just like onboard refreshments and personal inflight entertainment."
Meanwhile, Gutsche has contacted Singapore Airlines about his outrageous bill. According to an article by British tabloid Daily Mail, Singapore Airlines said that it is investigating the matter, but did not provide further details.