Virgin Australia have today got one up on Qantas, announcing their Boeing 777 fleet will be upgraded to include in-flight WiFi making them the first Aussie airline to offer WiFi internationally.
That means once complete (by the end of 2018) passengers on Virgin Australia to the USA will have access to the internet on a pay per use basis using the Gogo Satellite WiFi connection.
This upgrade is part of a fleet upgrade which will see all the Virgin Australia domestic 737’s offering WiFi, with the Airbus fleet to roll out after that into 2019.
The basic access domestically will be free, with an expected speed boost plan coming at a price. This is different to Qantas who will offer WiFi free to all passengers (Domestically) on WiFi enabled planes.
Internationally though it will be a different story, while Qantas has no WiFi – or plans to offer WiFi internet on it’s 747 and A380 planes, Virgin’s 777’s will offer a paid GoGo internet service.
For those travelling business class, this is a real tipping point. Virgin Australia’s “The Business” has been voted highly as a business class, but up against Etihad and others WiFi was a stumbling block, while the aging Qantas Business class needs both a seat upgrade as well as offerings like WiFi.
On a typical USA flight, around 14 hours, you’ll often try to sleep 6-8 of those, leaving 6-8 hours of time to watch movies, eat, and – get work done.
Having even a basic internet connection for a few hours of intense productivity can make the world of difference to someone looking to clear the inbox before a busy week – so this news from Virgin will most certainly be met positively in the business travelling community.
Virgin Australia Group CEO John Borghetti said: “We want to provide the world’s most rewarding travel experience and we know that enabling our guests to remain connected while flying is central to that.
“Therefore we’re pleased to announce our rollout plans for inflight wi-fi today, which will see more than 90 per cent of Virgin Australia’s fleet fitted with this technology. Virgin Australia will offer a base level of free wi-fi to all of our guests on domestic flights and become the only Australian airline to offer wi-fi on international flights.
“We’ve chosen to partner with leading inflight connectivity provider Gogo, who deliver inflight wi-fi to airlines around the world including Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic, and British Airways. Through our partnership with Gogo and Optus Satellite, we will have access to the largest fleet of satellites servicing Australia and New Zealand, providing our guests with a fast and reliable wi-fi experience on board,” Mr Borghetti said.
The news comes following a three month trial of WiFi internet on two 737 aircraft.
77 percent of passengers had a high-level of satisfaction with the WiFi, with Email being the most used application while connected, followed by Social Media, News and messaging.
Just 19% watched Netflix.