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.
Picture: Angus Kidman