Virgin Australia Surveys Customers on How Much They're Willing to Pay for In-Flight WiFi

29th Mar 2017

Now that Qantas is preparing to introduce free WiFi on its domestic flights, what exactly does that mean for the market and how will the other Australia airlines react?

Qantas's biggest rival Virgin Australia tried to give and answer to that question, or at least have customers do that for themselves. In a survey, the carrier intended to gauge the customer's interest in in-flight Internet access and how much they would be willing to pay for that privilege.

The survey consists of 16 different scenarios and uses different price levels to see how much influence the cost and access to Internet have on someone's decision to choose an airline. For each question, the customers are to imagine they are on a plane between Sydney and Melbourne or Brisbane, both of which are around an hour-and-a-half long.

Most questions pit Virgin Australia against Qantas, but users are also asked if they would perhaps choose Jetstar or Tiger if they offered Internet access.

Apparently, VA will offer two Internet levels. The "basic" service would cost between $8 and $14 and will be aimed for those who want to check their emails, what's new on social media, shop online or just browse the Internet. Then, there is the "high speed" service, which would cost between $15 and $21 and would be used to stream movies, games or music.

The poll also asks users how much they would likely use email, social media, shop or browse websites, as well as how much they would stream something.

Virgin's survey comes just as Qantas decided to delay the launch of its WiFi service due to "stability issues".

In a statement, Qantas said:

"We've been testing in-flight WiFi for several weeks and the performance has been strong. We were preparing to open it up to media and customers this week as we continue our fine-tuning over the next few months, but some stability issues have emerged that we need to fix before customers can use it. We're working with NBN and ViaSat to fix these issues very soon. We remain on track for a broader rollout to the Qantas domestic fleet from mid-2017."