Virgin Australia has just taken a major step towards its goal of becoming Australia’s first domestic carrier to allow passengers access to the internet while in the air: starting from mid-April, the carrier will be trialling in-flight Wi-Fi for select routes for the first time, it has announced.
The Wi-Fi will be available for free during the 3 month trial period on one 737 plane operating between Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. If this goes well, Wi-Fi will then be added to the rest of the 737, 777 and A330 planes throughout the late summer and fall. This will include a host of international flights to Asia and the United States.
Virgin announced its plan just days after Qantas decided to delay its trial of in-flight public Wi-Fi. John Thomas, Virgin Australia Executive, stated that they were confident that this trial will run smoothly and successfully and that customer experience feedback will be key to delivering the most reliable internet and entertainment access possible while in the air.
“Feedback from our guests during the customer testing period will help us tailor our in-flight Wi-Fi offering to their needs,” he said.
After the initial trial period, it is expected that Virgin Australia will begin to charge passengers for in-flight Wi-Fi use. The prices should range between a reasonable 8 and 14 dollars for basic connection. There will also be an option for higher-speed connection which will range between 15 and 21 dollars. The first 30 minutes of every journey are also expected to be free for every passenger.
If the trial is successful, this move from Virgin looks set to revolutionise the air travel experience and will be a welcome added convenience to make that trip an extra bit easier.