Qantas is switching on its inflight Wi-Fi as of next week, starting with a single Boeing 737. According to Australian Business Traveller, the service will commence with an exclusive flight for media on March 27 before it's switched on for travellers.
The Boeing 737 - VH-XZB - will spend most of its time travelling the east coast of Australia, flying routes between Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne. It will be the only Wi-Fi equipped Qantas plane until the second half of the year.
Coinciding with the news, Australian streaming service Stan has joined Qantas' list of content partners and will offer passengers on Wi-Fi enabled planes a three-month subscription with their fare. Foxtel is also partnering with Qantas to provide passengers three days of free access to Foxtel Go every time a customer travels, with no need to take out a subscription.
Qantas is calling Netflix and Spotify content partners, but both services' offers are the exact same free trial that anyone is eligible for (regardless of whether they're flying or not), so we're not quite sure what's going on with that. Hurrah for marketing.
Qantas is promising inflight speeds of up to 20Mbps, and has achieved speeds of between 7Mbps and 12Mbps per device in real world trials. Notably, access to inflight Wi-Fi will be free.
The rest of Qantas' domestic fleet of Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 aircrafts will be kitted out with inflight Wi-Fi from mid-2017 onwards. Qantas is partnering with broadband band service provider ViaSat for the rollout. Planes will have connectivity to NBN's Sky Muster satellites and to ground stations across Australia.
In addition, Qantas is examining options for bringing reliable inflight Wi-Fi to regional and international flights.