Qantas has begun trialling free in-flight wifi on one of its domestic Boeing 737 aircraft, with the service to be rolled out to the entire domestic fleet from later this year.

In addition to offering internet access, Qantas will offer customers free access to television and movies through Foxtel and Netflix. Flyers will also have the opportunity to stream music through Spotify.

To use Spotify or Netflix, Qantas flyers will be offered a 30-day free trial after creating an account. After this time a paid subscription will be required to access the content. But Foxtel goes a step further. Customers will have free access to Foxtel every time they fly, both during the flight and for 3 days afterwards. This is great news for customers, and the continued access after the flight makes it easy to see the end of any movies you didn’t get to finish watching on board. 

This is really cool! Since they (Australian carriers) are late to the Wi-Fi game, it’s great to see Qantas actually taking it a step further and adding some innovation with good content deals. This extended access would be great for finishing off a show you’re halfway through on a shorter flight. Can’t wait to test it out.

One member is disappointed that complimentary access to Spotify and Netflix will necessitate taking out a 30-day free trial, but they are pleased with the Foxtel arrangements.

Interesting to see only Foxtel was willing to give customers access without making them signup. Would have loved to see Netflix offer free use onboard only + perhaps 1 day so you can finish your show you started.

Some members are concerned that bandwidth could be a problem if a large number of passengers are connected to the wifi, causing dropouts and poor reception.

Yes, I think bandwidth would be the issue. Imagine a big sport event, footy game on and even 30/40 pax out of 150 want to stream it to their devices…. (I know I would)

But Qantas appears confident that the wifi connection, provided by 101 ground-based satellites stationed around Australia, will be able to cope with demand. At least one informed member agrees.

A mate works in this field and reliably informs me that the 2ku Gogo satelite tech, combined with a multi-antenna array, can indeed provide pretty significant bandwidth (Currently 70Mbps per antenna, moving to 200Mbps later this year).

Qantas currently plans to roll out in-flight wifi on its domestic Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 fleets, and is also considering adding it to QantasLink aircraft.

In-flight wifi is currently being trialled on Boeing 737-800 “Mudgee” (registration VH-XZB). If you’re lucky enough to have already flown on this aircraft, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Join the discussion HERE.

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]