Emirates celebrates 10 years of inflight mobile phone use

Inflight mobile phone use by a passenger.

Emirates is celebrating 10 years of inflight mobile phone use on its aircraft. It made history in March 2008 by becoming the first airline in the world to allow customers to make and receive calls, as well as send SMS messages, from their own mobile phones.

The inaugural inflight mobile phone call was made on March 20, 2008 on Emirates flight EK751 from Dubai to Casablanca.

Since then it says more than 2.8 million calls have been made, 60% of which were initiated from the aircraft, while over a million calls were answered by passengers travelling on Emirates.

The longest call recorded was on a flight from Orlando to Dubai on February 5, 2018 lasting 3 hours and 50 minutes. Over the last 10 years, it says 87 million SMS messages have also been sent or received.

Besides allowing inflight mobile phone use in 2008, Emirates was also the first airline to install TV screens in every seat on every aircraft in its fleet in 1992. Today, the airline provides more than 3,500 channels of entertainment, including over 700 movies from around the world.

Emirates says it has continuously been investing in providing inflight connectivity and Live TV for its customers. More than 70% of all Emirates’ aircraft offer Live TV, including all its Boeing 777-200LR and 777-300ER fleet.

Wi-Fi connectivity is available on more than 98% of the fleet, including all A380s, 777-300ERs and 777-200LRs. Customers in all cabin classes receive 20Mb of free Wi-Fi data, and each month nearly one million passengers connect while inflight.

This is provided by a mixture of Inmarsat’s L-band SwiftBroadband and Panasonic Avionics’ Ku-band Global Communications Services (GCS), with mobile phone connectivity with AeroMobile.

As part of its recent expansion of the Wi-Fi offering on board, Emirates Skywards members enjoy special benefits depending on their membership tier and class of travel, including free Wi-Fi when travelling in First Class or Business Class.

Emirates recently clinched three Regional Passenger Choice Awards for Best Entertainment in the Middle East, Best Inflight Wi-Fi in the Middle East, and the Best Overall Experience in the Middle East at the 2018 APEX Passenger Choice Awards ceremony held during APEX Asia in Shanghai, China last week.

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