flydubai is breaking away from its low-cost roots by rolling out inflight entertainment across its fleet of Boeing 737s. The airline showcased the latest developments to its onboard experience at this year’s Arabian Travel Market, now underway in Dubai.
flydubai’s WiFi rollout began earlier in May
flydubai introduced a complimentary inflight entertainment streaming service to its fleet of 36 Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft earlier in May. Passengers can stream wirelessly to their personal mobile devices, laptops, and tablets. This will replace the seatback entertainment system in the economy cabin on these aircraft.
“Whether they prefer to stay connected for the duration of their flight or opt to disconnect and enjoy our inflight entertainment, passengers can now enjoy more options from flydubai,” said flydubai’s Daniel Kerrison.
“The onset of the pandemic in 2020 has reshaped the way people travel and the way airlines operate. We temporarily discontinued our onboard duty-free sales, altered the meal service to individually packed meals, disabled our touch screens, and limited movement in the cabin.
“A year on, we have gradually and safely reintroduced some of the onboard services and continue to add new features to enhance our onboard experience.”
Passengers in flydubai’s Boeing 737-800 business class cabin will keep their high-definition touchscreens. flydubai’s WiFi connectivity provider is AIRTIME. The service will provide audio content, games, and over 150 TV series and films from Arabic cinema, Bollywood, Hollywood and Russian cinema. flydubai passengers can also connect to the inflight WiFi and do their own thing.
“Inflight entertainment and WiFi connectivity have become an essential part of the travel experience,” says Mr Kerrison.
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Not all flydubai aircraft are equal – at least when it comes to free WiFi
flydubai’s newer Boeing 737 MAXs will also provide free WiFi for all passengers. Ten aircraft from flydubai’s fleet of 14 Boeing 737 MAXs have now returned to passenger service. But the seatback screens in the MAXs are staying put – at least for the time being. Given the planes are virtually new, and each seat has its own 11.6-inch high-definition screen, that’s unsurprising.
But according to a statement issued by flydubai, while economy cabin passengers flying on flydubai’s fleet of 737-800s will enjoy complimentary WiFi access to stream inflight entertainment, passengers in the economy cabins across flydubai’s MAX fleet will have to pay.
“Passengers traveling on one of flydubai’s 36 Next-Generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft can enjoy complimentary inflight entertainment streamed wirelessly to their personal mobile devices, laptops, and tablets,” says the flydubai statement.
“flydubai’s Boeing 737 MAX aircraft also features exceptional inflight entertainment,” the statement goes on to say. “Passengers can enjoy complimentary seatback inflight entertainment in business class or purchase inflight entertainment packages from as little as AED 15 when traveling in economy class.”
Now that’s a policy that sure to cause some upset amongst flydubai’s regular economy class passengers – free on one flight, but not on another.
Still, flydubai is keen to pump up the tires on their MAXs. They promise Bluetooth headphone pairing across the MAXs, and the airline is spruiking the quality seatback screens. Also imminent is an online shop if you cannot wait until you land to hit the mall.
“We continue to invest in technology and enhancing our product offering,” says Daniel Kerrison. Inflight WIFi, complimentary or not, is now operating across most of flydubai’s fleet of 737s.