Every time you have been on an international flight, you would have probably grimaced at the expensive price tags that in-flight Wi-Fi have. If you really needed it, you’d have bit the bullet and paid up. If not, you would have watched a movie on your iPad or the in-flight entertainment system. Or dozed off perhaps. Now however, Reliance Jio users can take advantage of the new In-Flight connectivity plans that are priced at Rs 499 per day onwards, for their next international flight. Reliance Jio has also partnered with 22 international airlines to offer these services in-flight on specific routes. Prepaid and Postpaid users, irrespective of which Jio prepaid recharge or postpaid plan they may have subscribed to, can add the In-Flight Connectivity Packs to their account ahead of international travels.
The way the Reliance Jio In-Flight roaming works is that as a Reliance Jio prepaid or postpaid customer, you can avail any of the three Reliance Jio In-Flight Connectivity Packs available at this time. These are priced at Rs 499 with 1-day validity for 250MB data as well as 100 minutes of outgoing voice calls and 100 SMS, Rs 699 with 1-day validity with 500MB data as well as 100 minutes of outgoing voice calls and 100 SMS and Rs 999 also with 1-day validity and bundles 1GB data as well as 100 minutes of outgoing voice calls and 100 SMS. Prepaid users can avail these packs with a recharge for their connection while postpaid users can add these to their account on the Pre-on-post basis. Reliance Jio says data and SMS services are available with all partner airlines, but voice services will be available only with select airlines.
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This is significantly less expensive that the pricing most airlines charge for in-flight connectivity. For instance, Cathay Pacific, one of the partners for the Reliance Jio In-Flight Connectivity Packs, charges US$12.95 (around Rs 996) for in-flight data services for flights that are less than 6 hours in duration, and US$19.95 (around Rs 1,472) for flights longer than 6 hours. If you need connectivity for a short splash and dash, you will pay US$9.95 for one hour of usage. The pricing is similar on most international airlines. For instance, Emirates charges between US$ 9.99- US$ 19.99 depending on the length of the flight. Most airlines charge similar rates.
Reliance Jio has partnered with AeroMobile, a UK based mobile service provider for the aviation industry and a subsidiary of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, to provide the in-flight connectivity. Reliance Jio says that if you have subscribed to any of these In-Flight Connectivity Packs before the aircraft has taken off, your phone will be automatically connected to the AeroMobile aircraft roaming network once the aircraft is at 20,000 feet above the ground or higher in altitude.
AeroMobile’s in-flight roaming network works on 3G speeds and uses satellite connectivity. It will authenticate your SIM card’s unique number to confirm if the in-flight roaming services are subscribed for your number. Once the roaming agreement is confirmed with your mobile service provider, Reliance Jio in this case, you will be able to use the data services for browsing, emails, text messages and calls—depending on aircraft and airline. If required in any situation, the aircraft cabin crew will have complete control over the connectivity services on-board and can turn those off.
At this time, the in-flight connectivity agreement for the Reliance Jio In-Flight Connectivity Packs includes 22 airlines—Aer Lingus, Air Serbia, Alitalia, Asiana Airlines, Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Egypt Air, Emirates, Euro Wings, EVA Air, Kuwait airways, Lufthansa, Malaysian Airlines, Malindo Air, SAS Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, TAP Air Portugal, Turkish Airlines, Uzbekistan Airways and Virgin Atlantic.
The routes on which the Reliance Jio In-Flight Connectivity services will be available will depend on which airline you select. At this time, for instance, Emirates says that the AeroMobile services are available in more than 300 flights every day, including flights from New Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai. All Lufthansa flights from New Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Mumbai will also have the in-flight connectivity option. Singapore Airlines says the AeroMobile services are available on all flights to and from Singapore, including the connectivity options from New Delhi and Mumbai. Virgin Atlantic says the connectivity will be available on select flights between New Delhi and London Heathrow and Manchester.
But what if you are taking connecting flights? Reliance Jio says “If you are taking more than one flights and the flights are supported by the same aircraft roaming network within the Day Pass (24 hours upon usage), One Day Pass will be charged. If you are taking more than one flight and the flights are supported by the Different aircraft roaming networks within a Day Pass (24 hours upon usage), Two Day Passes will be charged.”