Normally, when we board a plane we set our phones to airplane mode and settle down for a journey offline. Qantas are looking to change this with trials for their new in-air Wi-Fi service commencing last week. While other carriers, such as Emirates and Hong Kong Airlines, have implemented similar internet services, this is a huge step forward for the Australian airline that has been made possible by the NBN.
The trial, which took place during a charter flight over NSW, was widely covered in the Australian media. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive with attendees reporting impressive speeds and ease of use. Chris Chamberlin from Australian business traveller conducted several speed tests during the flight and reported average download speeds of 10 to15Mbps. This matches average on-ground ADSL2 download speeds in major Australian cities and is suitable for streaming video in high definition. While download speeds were impressive, upload speeds performed below average at a maximum of 0.62Mbps. This means that you might not be able to seamlessly Skype or live-stream your flight just yet!
To ensure a smooth transition from terminal to cabin, Qantas allows passengers to connect to the Wi-Fi network while waiting to board their flight. Customers can easily connect by entering their name and seating details into the secure login portal on their devices. All apps that flyers wish to use in the air do need to be installed on their devices prior to connecting to the network though.
While it’s likely that most will spend their time online at 35,000 feet responding to emails, streaming Netflix or chatting on social media, Qantas have also introduced a feature which allows flyers to watch and explore the terrain their plane is passing over in real time.
While the initial trail went well, in-flight Wi-Fi is currently only available on one Boeing 737-800 jet. Qantas are looking to roll in the service to eighty domestic aircraft once additional trials have been completed. Get in touch with your travel expert to find out if you can book a flight with this in-flight Wi-Fi service soon.