Saudia deploys smartphone app for easy Wi-Fi access

Mobile phone being used in flight.
A passenger using a mobile phone in flight.

Saudia has become the first airline to develop and provide passengers with a dedicated mobile phone application for free inflight Wi-Fi. Passengers simply scan their ticket’s bar code for free Wi-Fi access.

All of Saudia’s first class and business passengers flying on the airline’s A330s and B777-300s on international routes receive a promotional code when they scan their boarding passes via the mobile application. They then use the code to access their free Wi-Fi on the OnAir portal.

Abdulrahman H Alfahad, VP Marketing and Product Management at Saudia, said: “Our new app makes it as simple as possible for passengers to access the Internet by just using the boarding passes in their pocket.

“We know just how much passengers value being in touch on email and social media. We like to keep Saudi Arabia’s 7.8 million Facebook users connected when they fly.”

Saudia says the mobile application is the easiest and most efficient distribution channel for free inflight Wi-Fi codes to date. Passengers download the app from the Apple store and it will soon be available on Android devices.

Saudi Arabians are the most prolific users of the internet via their smartphones in the Middle East. In 2014, 8.5 million people used the internet. Saudi Arabia’s smartphone penetration rate of 72.8% also places it in the world’s top three countries.

In 2014, 35,000 Saudia passengers used the free Wi-Fi, a number which will be enhanced by the mobile app.

“More and more airlines are providing free Wi-Fi as an integral part of the passenger experience and Saudia is the first to provide a specific app for inflight connectivity,” said Ian Dawkins, CEO of SITA OnAir. “This is the right response to passenger demand.

“Airlines are developing new and innovative ways to differentiate their connectivity, particularly since Wi-Fi and mobile phone services become commoditised in the air, as they already are on the ground.”

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