Qantas To Allow Digital Device On-board

29th Jul 2014

Passengers on Qantas flights will soon be able to enjoy their gadgets on-board, with matching web access while 33,000 feet above the ground, when the application by the state-owned carrier is finally approved within the next two months, at the latest.

The flag carrier has applied for a permit from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to offer the service on all its flights. The planned service offering proposes that passengers be allowed to use their electronic gadgets such as tablets and smartphones at all times during their flight.

Currently, passengers on Australian flights are not allowed to use their smartphones and similar devices during take-off and landing, so as not to intercept the communication signal between the aircraft and control tower. They need to set their smartphones to flight mode during these stages.

An airline official clarified, however, that internet access may not be available just yet. They're still looking at the possibility of offering the service, but the available technology is limiting their capability.

The airline official, Olivia Wirth, Qantas Group Executive Manager for Brand, Marketing and Corporate Affairs, said that they're closely monitoring the development of in-flight internet access by other airlines abroad. If they see the need, and when reliable technology is already available, they'd surely grab the opportunity to offer the same to their customers. She revealed that they're collaborating with Telstra to conduct a trial run of in-flight 4G broadband service between Sydney and Melbourne flights.

She further said that they recognized the need for people to get in touch with their loved ones even while in the plane, and offering such service is among their priorities in the immediate future. She, however, hinted that there are also passengers who want to detach themselves from the online world while in flight.

But she made it clear that they are always taking into considerations all possible options that would provide benefits to all its customers without ignoring the needs of other few.

In an industry where rivalry among airlines is becoming more and more intense, operators need to innovate their products and services to get ahead of the competition.

Qantas carefully studies all available options to offer the best travel experience to their customers.