Qantas Wi-Fi: More common than ever, still not foolproof
In-flight Internet is lovely – when it works.
The steady rollout of Wi-Fi across Qantas' domestic fleet means we're reaching a point where you're far more likely to get Wi-Fi than not. The picture above, showing all the flights with Wi-Fi available when I flew from Melbourne earlier this week, proves the point.
However, that doesn't always mean that the service will actually function. My flight was supposed to be Wi-Fi enabled, so I figured I'd be able to keep working throughout my time in the air.
However, when I tried to log on following the usual procedure, I repeatedly got a message saying the service wasn't available and to try again later.
The crew confirmed that there was an issue and that they were "rebooting the system". Like in-flight entertainment, this is a slow process, taking at least 10 to 15 minutes. Unfortunately, even after doing that, the service didn't kick in. "Looks like it's out for the day," one stewardess commented, in a tone that suggested this wasn't the first time that had happened.
Had Qantas' entire Wi-Fi system really been out for the day, I'd have expected to see a maelstrom of complaints on social media when I landed. I didn't, so I'll assume that it was just that particular aircraft that was having issues.
Yes, I realise that not having access to in-flight Internet on a flight that barely takes an hour is the very definition of first-world problems. That's doubly the case given that the service is free.
The lesson is that even if you know your flight has in-flight Internet, you need a back-up plan for what you're going to do if that's not available. Me, I sorted some photos on my phone and did some calendar planning, both tasks where you don't need a connection. But hey, staring out the window would also have been a viable option.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears regularly on Finder.
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Picture: Angus Kidman