Life in TransitA Digital Nomad in Asia

Traveller Racks Up $1,520 Internet Bill on Singapore Airlines

I spent about an hour uploading one 4mb powerpoint doc. That doc probably cost me $100 to upload.

Unless this business deal of yours is going to make you a lot of money, you are probably better off not being too zealous in your long haul flights.

For the hardworking entrepreneurs, you might feel that the in-flight entertainment or sleeping is probably a waste of your time. If you choose to work during the flight, you might be better advised to wait until you land before your work takes it’s own flight over the Internet to its destination.

That’s what Jeremy Gutsche, founder of website Trend Hunter, learned during a flight from London to Singapore on Singapore Airlines. He uploaded a 4MB file, sent some emails and viewed 155 web pages over the airline’s in-flight Internet service, incurring him a cost of 1171.46 USD (1,520 SGD). 1

In hindsight, you can hardly do anything with 30 MB of data these days. My laptop uses about 300 MB of data on average from background tasks alone, which I often see when I tether my laptop to my phone. Even then, the cost doesn’t scale linearly if he used the same amount of data as I do with my laptop.

His website did not state whether he used his phone or laptop to browse his email and transmit the file and did not account for any background tasks that his phone or laptop might be performing, such as file syncing.

The lesson here is that while people generally do appreciate good work ethic, being off the grid while in-flight can be excused. At least, until internet technology catches up.

Posted in: Digital Nomad