Aviation

Virgin hot on Qantas’ heels with inflight Wi-Fi

Hannah Edensor

Hannah Edensor

Not long after the battle of the inflight Wi-Fi seemingly looked like it was over, with Qantas’ product finally taking off, Virgin is back in the game.

Virgin Australia has today commenced a three-month testing period of inflight wireless internet access on one of its Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

Guests flying on the Wi-Fi enabled aircraft will be able to use the service free of charge during the testing period and can enjoy access to popular streaming services Netflix, Stan and Pandora on their devices while in the air.

Qantas also currently has one aircraft being trialled for wireless internet, partnering with ViaSat, while Virgin pairs up with inflight connectivity provider Gogo and Optus.

It comes after a rocky start for Qantas, who’s launch of the service was delayed and media event cancelled.

John Thomas, Group Executive Virgin Australia Airlines, said, “We are thrilled to commence customer testing of our inflight Wi-Fi today.

“We want to ensure that guests can stay reliably connected in the air while also enjoying the fantastic entertainment and customer service for which Virgin Australia is well known.

We’re looking forward to receiving guest feedback about our inflight connectivity over the next three months to ensure we are able to offer the best possible service in the sky.

Guests who travel on the Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft during the customer testing period will be notified that it’s available on their flight and provided with instructions on how to access the wireless internet.

Virgin Australia will finalise its business model after considering customer feedback and the results of the testing period.

The news also arrives on the same day Virgin Australia announced it will introduce twice weekly services between Perth and Canberra in Parliamentary sitting weeks.

The idea of the service is to cater for increased demand for travel to and from the nation’s capital and to encourage tourism to both cities.

The new services will be operated by Virgin Australia’s Boeing 737 aircraft, with flights for 2017 on sale today together with special Virgin Australia Holiday packages.

In Parliamentary sitting weeks in August and September 2017, Virgin Australia will operate the following services on Thursdays and Sundays:

  • VA590 will depart Perth at 1235 and arrive in Canberra at 1825
  • VA589 will depart Canberra at 1900 and arrive in Perth at 2140

In sitting weeks between October 2017 and December 2017, Virgin Australia will operate the following services on:

Sundays

  • VA590 will depart Perth at 1205 and arrive in Canberra at 1855
  • VA589 will depart Canberra at 1930 and arrive in Perth at 2110

Thursdays

  • VA590 will depart Perth at 1135 and arrive in Canberra at 1825
  • VA589 will depart Canberra at 1900 and arrive in Perth at 2040

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