Great news for long-haul travelers! Singapore Airlines formally launched in-flight connectivity as part of a $50 million program to bring internet and mobile data services to customers at 35,000 feet.

In-Flight Connectivity is available today on 14 aircraft in the fleet, including all five Airbus A340-500s which are deployed on the world’s longest non-stop flights, between Singapore and both Newark and Los Angeles. It’s also been extended to more markets such as Australia, for which regulatory approvals had not previously been obtained.

What’s nice is that travelers can surf the internet, send and receive emails on smartphones and other electronic devices, and send and receive SMS text messages with GSM-compatible mobile phones.

Through a partnership with OnAir the technology will be progressively rolled out across all of SIA’s long-haul Airbus A380-800, A340-500 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft over the next two years.

Services are offered on routes on which equipped aircraft are deployed, subject to regulatory approvals from individual countries. A map highlighting availability when flying over specific countries is published in the Airline’s KrisWorld in-flight entertainment magazine.

The promotional prices, which will last until November 30, 2012, are $25 for 30 megabytes of data and $10 for 10 megabytes of data. The previous plans cost $29.95 for 26 megabytes and $11.95 for 10 megabytes.

A joint promotion with SingTel also enables SingTel Mobile subscribers to enjoy discounted roaming rates of up to 40% for in-flight text messaging and GPRS data services, as well as up to 20% for incoming and outgoing voice calls. The discounted roaming rates are displayed on SingTel’s corporate website and the joint promotion will last until March 31, 2013.

I was fortunate to be on the inaugural flight from Singapore to Newark (my story) back in June 2004 and the 18.5 hour flight would’ve gone by a lot faster if I was connected to the internet. Earlier this year I flew Singapore Airlines around the world in their A380 which was an amazing trip (my story) and it would’ve been even more amazing surfing the web. But unfortunately, mobile data and text services are not yet available on the A380s.

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