150+ Qantas and Virgin planes will offer Wi-Fi this year
Here's the rollout Qantas and Virgin have planned for 2019.
In-flight Wi-Fi only began testing in Australia in 2015, but the long wait is nearly over. Qantas and Virgin Australia are both speeding up their domestic fleet rollouts. So what can we expect in Australian skies this year?
Qantas' 2019 Wi-Fi plans
Qantas has been progressing steadily with its rollout since its announcement of Wi-Fi plans back in 2016. "Wi-Fi has now been rolled out to more than half (42) of the 75 B737s that will be Wi-Fi-enabled by the end of 2019," a Qantas spokesperson told Finder.
Those flying on Qantas routes that commonly use Airbus A330s, like Melbourne to Perth, have lower odds of hopping aboard an aircraft with Wi-Fi. "One of our A330s is currently Wi-Fi enabled with four more due to be completed in the next couple of months," the spokesperson said. That will give the airline five Wi-Fi A330s "by the end of the first quarter". The rest of its A330 fleet is scheduled to have Wi-Fi added over the course of the year as the aircraft roll into hangars for servicing and maintenance.
Bad news for regional travellers though: Qantas doesn't have any plans to equip their smaller QantasLink aircraft with in-flight Wi-Fi services.
Virgin Australia's 2019 Wi-Fi plans
Virgin Australia currently has 42 Boeing 737s equipped with in-flight Wi-Fi tech, with the install for "the majority of the fleet to be completed this calendar year".
The airline will begin installation of its in-flight Wi-Fi services on its Airbus A330-200 aircraft from February, with the timeframe for the remaining installations being "later this year".
While Virgin Australia has one less Wi-Fi-equipped aircraft domestically than Qantas, it can boast that it has an international offering, something Qantas is still working on.
"Inflight WiFi is now available on all five Virgin Australia Boeing 777 aircraft, making us the only Australian airline to offer international WiFi," a Virgin spokesperson told Finder. When the service is launched, A330s flying international sectors will also have in-flight Wi-Fi availability.
(If you're travelling on another airline overseas, check out our guide to see whether your carrier has in-flight Wi-Fi.)
The quality of the service provided by each airline varies depending on the location and infrastructure, since Virgin Australia and Qantas use different providers for their in-flight Wi-Fi. Qantas opted for NBN Sky Muster and Virgin went with Gogo, which provides a similar service to Virgin's US partner airline, Delta.
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Pictures: PomInOz/Shutterstock, Ryan Fletcher/Shutterstock, EQRoy/Shutterstock, Jack Baker/Finder