Qantas Becomes Latest Airline to Announce Free ViaSat Wi-Fi
In-flight Wi-Fi has come a long way, but there's still room to improve. As the available products continue to advance, more and more airlines are installing the newest and fastest technology to provide a better experience for passengers — and in many of the most recent cases of airlines offering high-speed in-flight Wi-Fi, one name has come up a lot: ViaSat.
On Tuesday, Qantas became the latest carrier to announce its plans to offer free in-flight Wi-Fi to passengers in partnership with ViaSat — the same company American Airlines threatened to leave Gogo for. The carrier announced that it would use the provider's Ka-band satellite technology, which is significantly faster than alternative connectivity, making it possible for passengers to not only check their email but also stream HD video during a flight.
The carrier will launch a trial service this year on a Boeing 737 and expects to roll it out to its entire domestic fleet of A330s and Boeing 737s in early 2017. The ViaSat service on Qantas will offer speeds that are comparable to those you're used to experiencing on the ground — and without a usage fee, to boot.
ViaSat is already the in-flight Wi-Fi provider for JetBlue (which also offers in-flight Wi-Fi for free), Virgin America and select United flights (operated by ex-Continental 737s). Qantas is also looking to add Wi-Fi on its international fleet but nothing has been announced yet.