Qantas Wi-Fi Finally Takes Off Tomorrow

After a short delay and a whole bunch of testing, Qantas's first domestic jet with onboard Wi-Fi is set to take to the skies on regular passenger service. It's the first plane of Qantas's entire domestic and international short-haul fleet to be hooked up, but the rest will follow in short order.

Tested already on Qantas's key domestic corridors between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, as well as out towards Alice Springs, the first plane -- registration number VH-XZB -- will enter regular passenger routes from Friday afternoon. An hour-long demonstration flight for media is planned for Friday morning -- we'll be there -- but the free Wi-Fi will be switched on for all customers on any subsequent flight.

In the middle of the year, Qantas will begin installing the hardware necessary for inflight Wi-Fi on 80 of its Boeing 737-800 and Airbus A330 domestic jets. It's still calling the first installation a beta test, and will continue to refine the quality of the connection in coming months.

Qantas's partner ViaSat sent technicians on several flights to make adjustments to in-flight internet access in real time throughout its testing, and most recently a test flight with over 100 devices connected went off without a hitch.

Wi-Fi and inflight internet is going to be useful for passengers, but it'll be even moreso for the flight deck, where pilots and first officers will use it to track weather and update flight planning in real time.

We'll be in the first flight of Qantas's Wi-Fi-enabled 737 tomorrow morning, and we'll be filing stories and working away like usual -- if the 'net is up to snuff, at least. If you want to keep track of our journey you can follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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