Ten new in-flight wifi services06/06/2017
Seatplans rounds up the latest wifi offerings on board carriers including British Airways, Qantas, Lufthansa and Cathay Pacific.
BA has launched its new long-haul wifi service, with the technology initially being offered on one B747 aircraft, and second due to be fitted in July.
Access is available across two connection speeds – Simply Connect for basic web browsing, and Connect Plus which can handle video streaming. Prices range from £4.99 to £23.99 depending on type and duration of connection.
Air France KLM
Air France now offers in-flight wifi on its newest B787-9 aircraft, two of which have been delivered since the start of this year. Sister carrier KLM already offers wifi on its fleet of Boeing Dreamliner aircraft.
The group also plans to roll out the technology to 124 A330 and B777 aircraft, starting from the end of 2017.
The German carrier is gradually expanding its FlyNet wifi offering across its short-haul fleet (and those of subsidiaries Austrian and Eurowings), with the technology being rolled out to “an ever growing number of flights within Europe and on flights to and from North Africa and the Middle East” through to the middle of 2018.
Lufthansa also offers wifi on many of its long-haul aircraft, including the latest A350-900s, three of which have been delivered since the start of this year.
The flag carrier launched its new in-flight wifi offering on its new A350 aircraft last year, with 14 of the widebody aircraft now in service on routes including Hong Kong-Gatwick.
Price range from US$9.95 for one hour’s access, to US$12.95 for connectivity throughout the flight (on routes of six hours or less) and US$19.95 on routes over six hours.
The Australian carrier has begun free in-flight wifi trials on one of its domestic B737-800 aircraft, with Qantas stating the service offers speeds “up to 10 times faster than conventional on-board wifi”.
Testing is expected to be completed by the middle of the year, with the carrier’s fleet of 80 A330 and B737 aircraft fitted with the technology by the end of 2018.
Wifi is now available on all of Finnair’s new A350s, as well as “most of our A330s”.
Access can be purchased for €7.95 for one hour, €11.95 for three hours or €19.95 or for the full duration of the flight. Business class passengers and Finnair Plus Gold members get one hour’s complimentary internet access, while Finnair Plus Platinum enjoy free access throughout the flight.
Wifi technology is fitted to Swiss’ fleet of Airbus A330-300s, as well as the carrier’s fleet of B777-300ER aircraft, of which eight have so far been delivered.
Prices range from nine to 39 Swiss Francs depending on data usage, with the carrier stating that “the speed is similar to all public wifi connections on the ground”.
Air New Zealand
The Kiwi carrier is expected to start rolling out its in-flight wifi service from the second half of this year. Flights between Australia and New Zealand will be the first to see the service, followed by Tasman, Pacific Island and long-haul services from the end of 2017, and domestic services from 2018.
The technology will be supplied by Inmarsat’s new global GX satellite constellation, and integrated with ANZ’s Panasonic Avionics system.
The Canadian flag carrier has announced plans to extend its in-flight wifi offering to the airline’s wide-body fleet, with connectivity being provided by Gogo’s 2Ku satellite technology.
Air Canada already offers wifi on all of its 129-strong narrow-body fleet serving North America, including Embraer jets and the carrier’s fleet of A319, A320 and A321 aircraft.
The carrier began a three-month trial of in-flight wifi on one of its B737-800s in April. During the trial period the aircraft will operate domestic routes, and passengers will be able to connect for free.
Virgin Australia said that it plans to install wifi across its fleet of B737-800s, Airbus A330s and B777s operating domestic and international services following the completion of the trials.
By Mark Caswell