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Virgin Australia details Wi-Fi plans for international and domestic flights



90% of its fleet will offer Internet service.

Virgin Australia has revealed further details of its plans for in-flight Wi-Fi, and it's looking to steal a lead on rival Qantas by offering Internet access to international customers as well as domestic passengers.

The airline announced today that it will begin adding in-flight Wi-Fi to all its Boeing 737 aircraft this month. Boeing 777 craft will begin being fitted in October. By the end of 2018, Virgin says all of its 737 and 777 fleet will be Wi-Fi equipped, with its Airbus A330 fleet to follow in 2019. That will cover 90% of the aircraft it operates, with only the regional aircraft (including Embraer E190s and ATRs) missing out. Virgin's service utilises satellite connectivity from Gogo and Optus satellites. When the service was first announced, it was predicted to be launched by mid-2017, so the timetable has slipped a little.

Virgin confirmed that there will be a "basic" level of free service for all domestic customers, though it didn't specify what you'd get if you pay extra, and it would seem international passengers will have to pay. Qantas is making its entire in-flight Wi-Fi service free.

Virgin has trialled the service for three months on a single aircraft. Here's what the passengers on the trial service used it for:

  • 49% checked email
  • 43% checked social media
  • 31% read news
  • 27% sent text messages
  • 19% watched Netflix

Wi-Fi is increasingly seen as an essential in-flight service, with hundreds of airlines worldwide offering Internet access on board – check out the full list.

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Picture: Kate33/Shutterstock

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