Qantas to Offer In Flight Wi-Fi in Late February

15th Feb 2017

In-flight Wi-Fi is finally coming onboard Qantas aircraft this month, the Australian company announced today.

The carrier was making a "trial Wi-Fi run" on a Boeing 737-800 VH-XZB, which it had fit with wireless access points in the cabin, a satellite antenna and other necessary hardware back in November last year. However, the technology was unavailable for passengers on the aircraft while Qantas was doing in-flight and ground tests with ViaSat.

The tests, Qantas said, will conclude in late February.

In a statement, the carrier said:

"Qantas will offer customers video and audio streaming when the service is switched on its first domestic aircraft in late February this year. The rest of the airline's fleet of domestic Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 aircraft will follow from mid-2017 onwards."

Qantas will offer Wi-Fi not only on domestic, but also on regional and international routes. The company said:

"Qantas is also currently in talks with suppliers to extend Wi-Fi services onto its international and regional (QantasLink) fleets to develop a product that can overcome a number of technical, performance and coverage challenges, including options for Wi-Fi over large stretches over water, which will deliver a quality service that meets the expectations of Qantas's customers."

Last year in February, Qantas revealed plans to equip a fleet of domestic Boeing 737-800s and Airbus A330s with Internet Wi-Fi, which would be provided by ViaSat's global sat network and National Broadband Network's Sky Muster satellites.

Customers, if all goes according to the plan, should receive this service for free and will be able to stream TV programs from Foxtel free of charge, not only during their flight, but also for the following three days. At the same time, Spotify and Netflix will offer a 30-day free trial to all passengers who subscribe to their service.

If Qantas' plan comes to fruition, the airline will become the first of the three major airlines in Australia and New Zealand to offer Internet Wi-Fi in 2017. In July, 2016, Virgin Australia announced it will offer in-flight Internet from mid-2017 on its Boeing 737, Boeing 777-300ER and Airbus A330 fleets, but so far has not provided any details other details about it.