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For Qantas, the addition of the Boeing 787-9 to its fleet is a huge improvement for both the airline itself and passengers flying it, as the three-class configuration offers customers a solid hard product. However, the one thing that Qantas’ latest aircraft is lacking is Wi-Fi. But that might soon be changing.
Ahead of the aircraft’s inaugural long-haul flight between Los Angeles (LAX) and Melbourne (MEL), the carrier held a preview event for the media, officials and some of its most frequent flyers at its stunning new hangar at LAX. Along with getting an up-close look at the aircraft, a spokesperson for the carrier confirmed to TPG that it’s considering adding Wi-Fi to its fleet of 787s.
But don’t get your hopes up for Wi-Fi to be available soon. At this point, nothing is confirmed, and it’s not clear what type of Wi-Fi the airline would employ. And if the carrier does indeed decide to add Wi-Fi to the fleet, the technology likely wouldn’t be installed until Qantas takes delivery of all eight of its 789s on order — a process that’s expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
The decision by the carrier not to add Wi-Fi as an option to begin with was a questionable one. For Qantas, the Dreamliner provides the airline an opportunity to fly longer routes than ever before — for example, its soon-to-be-launched world’s longest flight between London (LHR) and Perth (PER) — and Wi-Fi on international routes isn’t a new concept for the carrier since it temporarily offered Wi-Fi on its A380 for a cost. And while it’s investing so much in the hard product — which it does have a lot to be proud of — the exclusion of Wi-Fi from its 787s was concerning from the start. Now, more than ever, passengers like to stay connected — or at least have the option.
Had the carrier made the decision from the beginning, chances are it would have been a much smoother process. Now, if Qantas does decide to add the feature, it’ll be forced to take aircraft out of operation in order to get the technology installed.
For now, Qantas is prioritizing rolling out Wi-Fi on its domestic fleet of aircraft — its 737s and A330s — and by the end of 2018, the feature is expected to be available on 80 of its domestic fleet. Those planes will offer complimentary Wi-Fi and a Qantas spokesperson said that if the carrier does launch Wi-Fi features on its 787s, it could potentially be complimentary as well.
If Qantas really wants to set its product apart from the competition, it should add Wi-Fi to its Dreamliners. Competitors that fly 787 variants to Australia from the US such as American and United already feature Wi-Fi, and Delta also offers Wi-Fi on its 777s to Australia. With only two Dreamliners in its fleet thus far, Qantas still has some time to decide whether or not to install the technology — but we’re hoping it does.
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