A single Qantas Boeing 737 equipped with advanced in-flight WiFi capabilities will provide the first public WiFi in the sky over Australia when the WiFi services is switched on for all passengers from March 27.
The aircraft was fitted out with WiFi last year and has been used in normal service since then with engineers and staff testing the WiFi capabilities non-stop.
Qantas today confirmed the WiFi will be available to the public from March 27 – with just the single aircraft capable of the service at launch.
Over the months following, another 79 aircraft will be fitted with WiFi – a service that took 3 weeks on the first plane, and will become faster as they roll it out to other aircraft.
Internally, Qantas refer to the plane (VH-XZB) as “the most entertaining aircraft on the fleet” and with what Qantas affectionately refer to as In-Flight WiFi 2.0 on board there’s little doubt.
Traditional in-flight WiFi systems are slow, but provide a good basic connection. Qantas are using a new generation WiFi delivery which takes advantage of the un-utilised NBN Satellite capacity to delivery fast speeds to passengers 30,000 feet in the air.
Stan was today announced as another content partner, meaning you can stream in real time the full Stan and Netflix catalogues, listen to your Spotify music, while Foxtel is also offering its online Foxtel Play service too.
Passengers who are new to these services will benefit from longer trial subscriptions, with the standard Stan member signing up for 30 days free, while those who are new through their Qantas booking will get three months.
It’s all part of the value proposition for Qantas, who are in a very healthy battle with Virgin Australia for the domestic travel market.
If you’re an aviation geek – good luck getting a seat on the Qantas WiFi plane, it’s being used all over Australia as its schedule for the last week shows:
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.