Qantas Cans In-Flight Internet Service

So long, airborne internet. At least that's the message we're getting from Qantas today as it quietly cans its in-flight internet offering for passengers. Sigh.

According to Australian Business Traveller, Qantas ditched the service simply because not enough people were using it. A Qantas spokesperson has been quoted saying that people who used it certainly enjoyed it, but not enough people were taking it up to make it viable.

Qantas kitted out a few of its Airbus A380 superjumbo aircraft with in-flight Wi-Fi capabilities for an eight week trial period in March. It was late to take-off, missing a scheduled go-live date in February, and spanned six A380s in the Qantas fleet.

It was never going to get you NBN-like speeds, as it was based on the Inmarsat satellite services, but it would be fine for staying connected as you crossed the pond for example. When the in-flight Wi-Fi launched it was free, and Qantas had been toying with how much to charge, but now those conversations look destined to go unresolved.

I never thought I'd see the day when I pined for air travel in the US, where in-flight Wi-Fi is abundant.

Sad face. [AusBT]

Picture by Simon_sees



    Well, I wouldn't pay for in flight Wifi. Probably wouldn't use it even if it was free - I can wait the couple of hours to check my emails. The tvs in the seats offer enough entertainment options for most flights I reckon.

      A380s aren't commissioned on short haul flights for a couple of hours. If you're flying MEL-SING for example, its a good 8 hours. I personally get very bored of the entertainment in-flight. I'd rather catch up on the news, chat to friends or reply to my e-mails or just browse the internet really. In-flight entertainment is usually ridiculously sluggish, and littered with ads. I would love to have the option of browsing the web during flights.

    It doesnt surprise me that Qantas canned the service.

    I flew to the US earlier in the year and the pricing was so appalling that I wasnt going to hand over any of my hard earned.

    If I remember correctly, the price was around $40 for around 200mb on a 13 hour flight. RIDICULOUS!

    In the US, the pricing is much more sensible. Its priced at around $5 - $10 for the whole flight (depending on your device).

    If Qantas introduced those prices AND they included the service on domestic routes, a lot more people would have purchased the service.

      What? The article said Qantas weren't charging for it at all.

        If they werent charging for it... that was only for business or first customers. I certainly dont have the $8k needed to fly business to the USA.

        Qantas were definitely charging for it... even though they said it was just a trial.

          yep...I flew economy from LA to Melbourne in august and they wanted $30 for 25mb of data...bit rich considering it was $15 for unlimited data on pretty much every domestic US flight I had whilst in the country

        The impression I got was that Qantas were evaluating whether people would use it, and then figure out what to charge,

    Well it makes sense, no point in the service if no one is going to use it

    The real question should be: Are people really this desperate to use the internet? Can't you abstain for just an hour or two?

      An hour or 2? Those are some short-ass flights!

        melbourne - sydney, the most common domestic flight in aus

          not for an A380

            Alright guys chill out, even if the flight is for 6 hours or more are people really that desperate to use the internet?

              given the amount of time i spend on it - yes

                I have to admit, I am on mine pretty much 24/7. If it's not the computer, it's the phone. It's pretty sad haha.

    So you're saying I can't instantly Instagram my in-flight meal after all? This spells disaster for all the interwebs.

      Think of the hipsters -- will somebody please think of the hipsters!

    A friend of mine flew Qantas back from Hawaii a couple of months ago; no in flight entertainment at all!

      It's called a book, buy one at the airport newsagent before you get on the flight. Viola! In flight entertainment that stimulates the brain instead of atrophying it.

        That's great and all (and I love my eReader which I carry with me almost literally everywhere) but come on - every single long distance flight these days is expected to come with entertainment. With modern in-flight entertainment offerings (portable screens to rent, screens in the seat in front of you etc) it's perfectly reasonable to expect some form of TV show or movie.

        What are these "books" of which you speak?
        How do I download them?
        Do I need iOS or Android to read these "books" or do they also work on Macs and PCs?

    It's a good thing I don't fly qantas. Having no wifi on any planes in Australia just shows how behind we really are.

    I'm surprised more people weren't using it for free. Were Qantas advertising it well?

    Then again, maccas wifi is free, and you can barely load on that rubbish.

    I'd rather have internet than active phone lines on planes that's for sure, but more than anything else I'd like a charging point on each seat is regular cattle class.

    Just few on an a380 and I was keen on trying the inflight internet service... until I saw the price.

    Some of my flights in the US had it for around US$5 a (domestic) flight. I'd imagine that would be very popular.

    I flew the A380 with in-flight internet last week... just after I flew an AA flight with their 'wifi' service.

    The problem with the Qantas service is that they charge in blocks of MB.. and it's expensive! In this day and age, with iPad's syncing email, etc.. it's hard for someone to know how much MB they download over a long haul flight.

    AA on the other hand, charged for blocks of time (1 hour, 3 hour, or 'entire flight'). The prices seemed slightly cheaper than Qantas.. plus you knew EXACTLY what you were getting.

    Needless to say, I signed up for the AA service, but decided to skip the Qantas service.

    An interesting move considering how small and short this study was. I would have assumed that the business crowd would take time and notification to adapt and rely on such a service, and having no idea whether your particular plane would have wifi makes it impossible to intend to use the service that may or may not be on it.

    That would leave only spontaneous use and those who were aware and did have it available during that narrow period would not necessarly have been confident in using such a trial system without being fully informed of the potential pitfalls.

    Anyone else got thoughts on this?

    The 4th busiest air route in the world, but the A380s are only used on long haul flights like LA or London.

    I like the idea of being cut off during an international flight. Makes it seem more incredible.

    I was locked in a tube for 13 hours with no contact with the outside world, and now I am in Los Angeles? CRAZY!

    Problem is they dont advertise it. I was on a Singapore to Melbourne flight, with Singapore airlines, and they had in flight internet which i discovered within the last hour of the flight!

    I had 2 business class flights (12 & 14 hrs respectively) in March and April with Qantas. There was no mention of internet or wi-fi.

    Singapore Airlines have it on certain planes, but the pricing is way over the top.

    I fly so much that I've usually seen all the in-flight movies and TV shows worth seeing by the middle of each month. Internet would have been a God-send.

    QANTAS is behind the times and going backwards as fast as its penny-pinching Irish CEO can make it. While times are tough in their industry, they remain focused on the wrong things. Creating a great client experience is never on their agenda.

    I think they'll be broke and broken up within 3 years. You can't save your way to growth.

    Last edited 03/12/12 6:30 pm

      "Penny-pinching Irish CEO" where "Penny-pinching CEO" would have sufficed. Alan Joyces nationality has nothing to do with the way he is running Qantas. Invoking his Irishness is unnecessary. I doubt you would have referred to the late Jim Stynes as "philantropic Irish football player"? Congratulations for displaying another example of low grade Australian racism.

        The fact he is not an Australian has *everything* to do with the way he is running Qantas.

        An Australian appreciates the unique heritage and special brand of Australia's national carrier. But Joyce as a foreigner is running it like any other cut price airline, and in so doing, failing to capitalise on some of the key ways he could leverage Qantas's unique local position to gain more Australian passengers.

        Congratulations for missing the point entirely in your rush to proclaim racism where none exists.

        Incidentally, I currently work for an Irish guy and he's the best boss I've ever had. And that's at least partly because he's not running our company into the ground, like Joyce is doing to Qantas.

        Last edited 06/12/12 9:21 am

          Wrong. Australian businesses are not some mysterious, fragile creatures that can only be understood by native born Australians. Remember the BS over Telstra and Sol Trujillo? - from May 26, 2009 "During his time at Telstra, American-born Mr Trujillo, who has Mexican heritage, was often portrayed as Mexican. He was referred to as one of the 'three amigos' running Telstra and his battles with governments were sometimes referred to as Mexican stand-offs."

          Bad business and bad management are independent of race, creed or culture. To dress your point in any way other than xenophobic is disingenuous. Incredibly you even manage to contradict yourself and reinforce your racism with "I currently work for an Irish guy and he's the best boss I've ever had. And that's at least partly because he's not running our company into the ground, like Joyce is doing to Qantas." That's brilliantly ambivalent. You have a great boss who happens to be Irish, and manages to be a great boss in spite of being Irish. In other words, while the business is going well then he's alright, but should it start going south then he's a useless Irish twit?

          Maybe businesses overseas that have Australian CEOs and management should be rethinking their appointments? Maybe The News of the World would still be running the presses if they had been helmed only by Brits? Or maybe the upper echelons where just a bunch of dicks regardless of their national origins?

          Finally I didn't "rush to rush to proclaim racism where none exists." You posted your comment on Dec 3, I read it and slept on it, only posting my reply on Dec 4. You can certainly congratulate me on taking the time to consider your point and seeing it for the bigotry that it is.

            You still don't get it.

            My comment was about a *non-Australian* running an iconic Australian business, and therefore, he does not understand the deep and unique competitive advantages of that business due to the business's Australian heritage. I only mentioned that that Joyce is Irish as a matter of extra precision. Ie, he happens to be an Irish non-Australian. Eg, for the same reason, I call a chair on which a King sits a ''throne'' rather than just a chair.

            Joyce's nationality is irrelevant, it's his non-Australianess - lack of understanding of of the unique competition situation of the business he's running - that is leading him to run an iconic Australian brand into the ground.

            You mention Trujillo... which is a nice further proof of my actual point. His nationality was irrelevant. But as a non-Australian, Trujillo failed to understand uniquely Australian apects of Telstra and its position in the Australian business environment. As a result, he didn't run Telstra effectively. He was so focused on running it like any other OS telco, that he and his foreign management team completely mishandled their relationships with their single biggest customer - the Australian Govt. As a result he lost a fortune for the company, stagnated its share price, and left a huge mess for his successor to try to buy back in to the single biggest telco project in the nation's history (NBN).

            Incidentally, I would have the same potential concern about how an Australian might be similarly challenged to an iconic foreign brand its home country. That is, their lack of deep appreciation of the history of the company and brand could lead a sub-par foreign manager to not understand the unique cultural assets and government linkages of that particular company.

            I hope that second time round, if you take a moment to think about what I'm saying, you will see that your jumping up and down about the mention of the word ''Irish'' is misplaced. In fact, my point has nothing to do with misplaced cultural stereotypes of Irish people, which you are apparently eager to rail against.

            And finally, yes, if my business started going badly due to poor decisions made by my boss, then yes, he'd be an ''Irish twit''. Same as if it started to go badly because of poor decisions made by me, I'd be an ''Australian twit''.

            Poor business decision-making is not the preserve of any one nationality. But sometimes, being a ''non-local'' *may* lead to a greater propensity to make poor business decisions. Joyce and Trujillo are the prime examples of that.

    I don't think I would have ever used this, I like having no internet when I'm in the air

    I attempted to use this once but nearly fell out of the plane when I saw the pricing, $40 for 20 mb of usage was the reason people weren't using it

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