The first stats on Qantas's fast, free inflight Wi-Fi are in: nearly a third of all passengers on the first 'net-connected jet have been using the service, reliability is excellent, and download speeds are faster than most homes' ADSL connections.
Qantas's first public update on the performance of its NBN satellite-connected Boeing 737-800, tail number VH-XZB, is impressive: of the 3500 passengers per week who take the airliner on its journeys between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns, 32 per cent are logging on to the free Wi-Fi at some point during the flight. That's a huge jump from the 5 per cent that tried paid inflight Wi-Fi on Qantas' test A380 in 2012, and a jump over the industry standard of 10 per cent.
Download speeds of 12 megabits, Qantas says, are routinely reached these days — and have improved slightly since the trial started. That's faster than my wired ADSL2+ connection at home. Nearly two thirds of the passengers connecting are using one or more apps and visiting multiple websites — news and email and general web browsing are most popular, followed by social media like Facebook, then streaming music and video, then instant messaging and online shopping.
Qantas says inflight internet is available for 98 per cent of flying time in its early testing, with minimal dropouts as the jet flies between satellite coverage beams — downtime during transitions isn't a huge deal when you're going at 850kph. [Qantas]
We're up in the air today for a quick plane journey to test out Qantas's brand new in-flight internet, which is available today to Qantas flyers for free and for the first time. It's only on a single jet — ours! — for now, but will be rolled out to the entire Qantas fleet throughout the year. Join in as we put it through its paces.