Businessman claims SIA billed him $1.5k for checking mails on flight

Mr Jeremy Gutsche, a Canadian entrepreneur, says he had to pay Singapore Airlines US$1,142 in charges over his purchased 30MB package. -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Mr Jeremy Gutsche, a Canadian entrepreneur, says he had to pay Singapore Airlines US$1,142 in charges over his purchased 30MB package. -- PHOTO: ST FILE

LONDON - A passenger travelling on Singapore Airlines from London to Singapore has claimed that he was charged US$1,200 (S$ 1,558) for using wi-fi on the flight.

Mr Jeremy Gutsche, a Canadian entrepreneur, claimed he mostly used the internet for work emails between naps and watched no videos, The Independent newspaper reported. He was hit with the bill on Wednesday on alighting the flight, racking up US$1,142 in charges over his purchased 30MB package.

Mr Gutsche wrote about the bill on Trend Hunter website of which he is the Chief Executive Officer, accusing the airline of ripping off passengers, Mailonline said.

"I wish I could blame an addiction to Netflix or some intellectual documentary that made me US$1,200 smarter," he wrote, claiming that he had viewed only 155 pages and slept during most of his flight. "However, the Singapore Airlines internet was painfully slow, so videos would be impossible and that means I didn't get any smarter."

Sending a 4MB PowerPoint presentation cost him around US$100, Mr Gutsche estimated, and another US$10 went on an email to colleagues warning them the upload was slow.

Conditions listed on the Singapore Airlines website state that varying wi-fi packages are offered on Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER planes which must be selected before passengers connect.

They are based on the amount of data used or the length of time online but anything going over the package limit is charged substantially more.

Passengers can opt to have their session automatically disconnect when they reach their limit or they can stay connected and incur additional charges per kilobyte of data.

"The pricing per megabyte was disclosed on sign-up," Mr Gutsche said. "But I bought the US$30 package .. and really didn't think I'd end up a thousand bucks past the limit."

A spokesman for Singapore Airlines told Mailoinline that the carrier was following up the complaint but would not say whether the bill would be lowered.