Virgin hints at international inflight Wi-Fi

Virgin hints at international inflight Wi-Fi

Virgin Australia is pushing to rival Qantas on the inflight Wi-Fi front, claiming to be taking it from domestic to international imminently.

According to Australian Business Traveller, Virgin has plans to expands its service to cover the USA and Asia, while also getting it on more of its domestic fleet.

Virgin Australia started trialling inflight Wi-Fi around the same time Qantas managed to get it in the air, continuing an ongoing friendly competition.

Although Virgin founder Richard Branson recently hinted at a rivalry that wasn’t so friendly, claiming Qantas tried to “push Virgin off a cliff” in the domestic market.

Virgin has just upgraded its second Boeing 737 with its Gogo 2Ku technology to enable inflight Wi-Fi, according to ABT.

“But we’ll be doing the whole fleet, Airbus A330s and Boeing 777s, and we’ll have Wi-Fi on Asia and US routes soon,” Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti told ABT last week when the airline launched its inaugural flight from Melbourne to Hong Kong.

When pushed to reveal just how soon, Borghetti said, “Very soon”.

“It’s just a matter of scheduling – when you’ve got over 100 aeroplanes, you want to try and (upgrade) them when you are doing heavy maintenance.”

Virgin didn’t confirm whether the Wi-Fi service would remain free after the trial period, but ABT believes there will be two options for travellers: a Basic connection suitable for Web browsing, email and social media, and a High Speed pipeline for streaming videos like Netflix.

Per ABT, Virgin sent passengers a survey earlier this year, which suggested a Basic connection could cost between $8-14 per flight, and High Speed could cost somewhere in the $15-21 range per flight.

However, Virgin also allowed that “on some flights the price could be free, or the first 30 minutes could be free”, per ABT.

Qantas will apparently offer its own Wi-Fi service free for all passengers, focusing on local domestic services first before going internationally. It has plans to upgrade 10 Boeing 737s with NBN satellite tech by around September this year.

Wi-Fi on international flights wouldn’t be expected until after its 80 or so domestic Boeing 737s and A330 fleet is equipped, which per ABT is set to wrap up by late next year.

Meanwhile, Qantas is also working on other inflight perks, including passenger wellness, beating jetlag, and improving cabin environments with lighting and temperature. The airline signed on with Sydney Uni’s Charles Perkins Centre to transform the journey for passengers from pre-boarding to touchdown.

Latest News

  • Products

Mandarin Oriental takes a dive into swimwear with $360 board shorts

If you were inspired by The Inspired Unemployed’s Liam Moore limited-edition pair of Budgy Smugglers but want a bit more coverage, then here’s your chance. The Orlebar Brown brand has introduced an original design of the Bulldog swim short for Mandarin Oriental hotels – yours for a snip at US$242.25 (AU$360). They have been “designed […]

  • Health & Wellness
  • Luxury

Trisara showcases sustainable dining via wellspring program

Phuket-based resort Trisara is transporting guests from resort to farm to table then back again courtesy of a new limited-time program, Wellspring. The package is a collaboration with Tri Vananda, a US$182 million (AU $270 million) wellness community in northern Phuket, conceived by Montara Hospitality Group, the owners of Trisara. In addition to entitling guests […]

  • Aviation

Emirates SkyCargo expands fleet with five Boeing 777 freighters

Emirates SkyCargo announced an investment of US$1 billion (AU$1.484b) to expand its fleet with an order of five new Boeing 777 freighters. The investment follows a strong performance in the first quarter of the 2024/25 financial year. Emirates SkyCargo expects the new freighters to increase its capacity by 30 per cent. The increase enables the […]

  • Events
  • Tour Operators

ITE HCMC 2024 focuses on sustainable tourism for creating a future

The 18th annual International Travel Expo Ho Chi Minh City (ITE HCMC) will take place from 5 to 7 September at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Center. Under the theme “Responsible Travel, Creating Future”, the expo will highlight its dedication to promoting sustainable tourism practices and showcasing innovative tourism products and services to meet rigorous […]

  • Appointments

Seasoned pro Chris Waite goes out on his own in corporate affairs & communications

Seasoned tourism and hospitality industry corporate affairs and communications professional Chris Waite has unveiled his new consultancy. Drawing on his 25 years of experience across Australia, Europe, and Asia, Chris Waite Corporate Affairs & Communications is dedicated to helping businesses build and safeguard their most valuable asset: their reputation. Waite will focus on delivering results through […]

  • News

Travel becomes the leading retirement priority in latest Equip Super research

A staggering 71 per cent of Australians are prioritising spending their retirement savings on travel, according to a recent survey by leading superannuation fund, Equip Super. Health concerns were ranked as second as the most significant priority in retirement with 56 per cent and spending on hobbies and interests takes the third spot at 54 […]