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Friday 20 November 2015

Internet access in the air? Qantas could be on a winner

Some people love the idea of internet access in the air; others loathe the very thought.

When I get on a long-haul flight I have two plans of action. First to eat and drink and secondly to sleep as long as I can. I want to be fresh when I arrive at my destination so I am ready to eat and drink again.

But on flights to Europe, or North America, it is impossible to sleep all the way, even if you have one of those luxury lie-flat beds in business class.

So I like the idea of being able to catch up on emails (both reading and sending), maybe even writing and filing a story, or a blog item.

For that reason I'm very happy when an airline like, say, Etihad offers wifi internet access at an affordable price.

Now Qantas is set to offer satellite Internet access on its flagship Airbus A380 flights to the USA as well as on selected domestic routes, CEO Alan Joyce has told the Australian Business Traveller website.

Qantas first experimented with in-flight wifi in 2012, but experienced minimal take-up rates on its A380 services, with less than 5% of passengers logging on. But now American Airlines' Boeing 777 flights between Sydney and Los Angeles feature wifi, it is back on the agenda.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce told Australian Business Traveller that “it didn’t really work well across the Pacific because I think people were sleeping a lot and not using it, but we’re very keen to continue to explore it.”

On the domestic front, Qantas could be an early customer for the NBN's new Sky Muster satellites which begin beaming broadband across Australia from the middle of 2016.

Exciting times for those who want to have the option of working when it suits them - including above the Pacific Ocean.

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