Virgin Australia begins testing its inflight Wi-Fi

Hot on the heels of Qantas switching on its inflight Wi-Fi comes Virgin Australia’s announcement that it, too, has commenced testing of onboard internet for domestic flights – a trial which will take place for the next three months.

Starting today, the Wi-Fi service has been enabled on a single Boeing 737-800 aircraft and, like on Qantas, passengers can access video streaming services Netflix and Stan for free on their devices.

To provide flyers with high-speed internet while in the air, Virgin Australia has teamed up with Aussie telco Optus and inflight internet and entertainment provider Gogo.

Addressing the launch, John Thomas, Group Executive of Virgin Australia said that the airline was “thrilled to commence customer testing of our inflight Wi-Fi today.”  “We want to ensure that guests can stay reliably connected in the air while also enjoying the fantastic entertainment and customer service for which Virgin Australia is well known,” he stated.

High flyer

Passengers on the airline’s internet-enabled flight will be informed of the service’s availability and instructions will be provided on how to connect their devices.

Australian Business Traveller was on board the first test flight and clocked up download speeds of up to 20Mbps. In our recent tests with Qantas’ in-flight Wi-Fi, we found speeds hovered around the 12Mbps mark.

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Other than Netflix and Stan, customers will also have access to music streaming service Pandora Plus, which will include a free three-month trial. Passengers with existing Netflix or Pandora accounts will reportedly be able to add those three months to their current subscriptions on the streaming services, but Virgin Australia has mentioned that terms and conditions will apply.

Virgin has not announced if access to the inflight Wi-Fi will continue to be free after the three-month trial period, but it has stated that it will “finalise its business model after considering customer feedback and the results of the testing period.”

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.