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Virgin Atlantic will offer free Wi-Fi for passengers — but not any time soon

March 05, 2021
3 min read
Virgin Atlantic will offer free Wi-Fi for passengers — but not any time soon
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Virgin Atlantic plans to roll out free Wi-Fi as part of its offering to passengers. But, don’t expect to be able to take advantage any time soon, as the airline says that free Wi-Fi is still a long ways off.

As reported by PaxEx.aero, Virgin Atlantic’s In-Flight Entertainment and Communications Manager Mark Cheyney said in a Connected Aviation Intelligence webinar that the carrier is still relying on paid Wi-Fi as a “revenue driver.”

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“We don’t see it being a revenue driver forever,” Cheyney said. “There will come a time where Wi-Fi is free. We’re edging closer to it, but we’re not there yet.”

A company spokesperson then clarified that the airline doesn’t “currently have plans to make Wi-Fi free.”

Nevertheless, the prospect of free Wi-Fi on Virgin Atlantic’s long-haul flights — in whatever the timeline — is a promising one.

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The carrier’s partner Delta Air Lines, which also owns 49% of Virgin, offers free messaging on its flights. Earlier this year, Delta’s CEO Ed Bastian shared the airline’s goal that it plans to offer free Wi-Fi within a year or two.

Related: Delta’s laying the groundwork for free inflight internet with latest Wi-Fi move

Delta’s decision to offer free Wi-Fi was spurred by its transition from Gogo to satellite-based Viasat. Viasat controls its entire network, which means lower costs for Delta, allowing the airline to make the move to a free model.

Virgin Atlantic’s Wi-Fi provider is Inmarsat on just its Airbus A350 fleet and has contracts with the likes of Panasonic and Gogo on its other types of aircraft. It’s unclear if Virgin plans to consolidate those contracts into a single provider. If so, it would make the rollout of free Wi-Fi more manageable and cost-effective.

In recent months, Virgin Atlantic has been more closely aligning its offering with Delta. Earlier this week, the airline announced that it will begin charging for more-desirable economy seats, such as those closer to the front of the plane. Delta — as well as Virgin’s joint-venture partners Air France and KLM — already charge for that.

At the start of the year, Virgin massively devalued its partner award chart for Delta, before backtracking on the full scope of the changes.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
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  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023