Qantas Launches Free In Flight WiFi on Australian Flights

23rd Feb 2016

The Australian airline Qantas announced yesterday that it will trial free in-flight Internet access for its passengers on domestic flights. The free in-flight web access will start sometime late this year with a single Boeing B737 plane. If the trial proves a success with passengers and financially as well, The Flying Kangaroo will next upgrade the rest of its B737 fleet, as well as its Airbus A330 fleet early next year.

According to Qantas, the in-flight Internet will be both fast and free for users.

Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said:

"As a premium carrier, delivering value for money to our customers is extremely important to us. That's why we'll be offering access to Wi-Fi for fee, on top of all the other things that are included when you fly Qantas."

The Wi-Fi will serve all applicable devices, including laptops, tablets and smartphones.

It will also enable passengers to have phone conversations over Skype or some other voice-chat medium. The airline is still a bit undecided whether its passengers would prefer this service or not. After all, some passengers may not take too kindly to the person next to them talking the entire flight about his new iPhone or Apple smartwatch, so they will be asking passengers for a feedback on the matter.

Internet access will be enabled through two Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) satellites. The 'Sky Muster' geo-stationary satellites, Qantas said, will allow sufficient download speeds for passengers to watch streaming videos uninterrupted by buffering, constant loading and other hiccups.

The problem, however, remains the fact that all passengers onboard will have to share the same Wi-Fi connection. A saving straw could be that more than one connection will be made to the two satellites, but this depends largely on how everything is implemented.

Interestingly enough, Qantas made a similar test run for in-flight Wi-Fi back in 2012. However, since it did it with barely an announcement, most people didn't even knew it was available and the airline decided there were simply not enough people interested in it.

Hopefully, this will be different this time.