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December 03, 2012

In-Flight Wi-Fi Interest Not Enough for Qantas, Suspends Service

By Colleen Lynch, TMCnet Contributor

Qantas, one of the first airline services in the world to offer Wi-Fi connectivity in-flight, is now suspending the service. The company is citing a lack of customer demand as the reason for the move, despite the initial popularity the service received.

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“We remain focused on delivering services to our customers that they value,” said a spokesperson for Qantas. “Right now, our customers are telling us that access to the internet on the ground is more important than in the air.”

This claim is rather surprising, especially when looking at the numbers: Qantas reports that less than 5 percent of their consumers used the service once it switched to a paid service model.

At the beginning, the company offered in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity free for a period of six weeks, to drum up popularity and interest in the new offering.

Those traveling between Los Angeles and London were the only passengers to try out the service, between the months of March and November 2012, as the service was in its initial stages. 

The response was less than expected or desired by Qantas.

As to why the service was received in this way, some believe the flight taking place overnight meant that most passengers preferred sleep to surfing the Internet. The fact that the service required payment may also have led to its stunted use.

The service is not gone forever, however, but suspended at the current time. 


Image via Shutterstock

“We are continuing to invest in upgrading Wi-Fi technology across our domestic and international lounge network. Domestically, we are looking at options to offer Wi-Fi onboard,” explained Qantas’ spokesperson in a statement to the website Mumbrella.com.

In order to provide Wi-Fi in-flight to passengers, Qantas charged between $12.90 and $39.90, depending on usage. There were also fines for using Facebook chat.

The service also offered relatively slow download speeds for emails on both the iPhone (News - Alert) and any laptops connected to the internet onboard.

The reported speeds for downloads were set at 0.11MB/s, and uploads were set at 0.08MB/s.

These numbers would be about 1 percent of standard download and upload speeds.

Qantas has no plans to reinstate the service as of this time, but as it is a suspension and not a cancellation, the company may decide to offer the service again in the future, with possible changes to increase percentage of users. 

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Edited by Braden Becker