Health & Fitness

Which Australian Airline Has The Best Wifi? Carriers That Connect You Fast

  • May 1, 2024
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Which Australian Airline Has The Best Wifi? Carriers That Connect You Fast

Inflight WiFi was once the exception to the norm. Few airlines offered it, and when they did, it was often slow, unreliable, and expensive. But that’s gradually changing…

NOTE: We’re defining ‘Australian Airlines’ as all airlines that service Australia, not just those headquartered down under.

Like a solid inflight entertainment offering, passengers are starting to expect WiFi that works well, and if it’s free – even better.

However, that gold standard remains a high bar for airlines and many still fall short. We took a look at the inflight WiFi offerings from some of the biggest carriers servicing Australian airports, and we found a mixed offering.

Qantas Ramps Up Its WiFi Offering

Qantas now offers free inflight WiFi on international routes serviced by A330-200s, B737-800s, and its new A220-300s. The catch is this: it only works when you are flying over Australia. However, Qantas is rolling out WiFi across the rest of its international fleet, starting with A330 flights to and from Asia later this year, and the updated offering will work over water.

The rollout will continue across the B787-9 and A380 fleets, but within a couple of years, Qantas passengers can expect to stay connected for the entirety of their flights, which, depending on your point of view, is either a good or bad thing.

RELATED: Qantas Ad Makes Australia Emotional

Singapore Airlines Sets The WiFi Gold Standard

Singapore Airlines already offers its passengers that level of connectivity. Regardless of cabin class, the WiFi kicks in shortly after takeoff. The airline warns that the speed and experience may differ from the ground network and depends on the type of aircraft you’re travelling in. A word to the wise, too: there are certain sections of the planet where the WiFi simply will not work.

FYI: To access free WiFi on Singapore Airlines, you’ll need to punch in your KrisFlyer number. 

Gulf Carriers Disappoint On WiFi

Emirates gives all Skywards frequent flyer members access to free inflight WiFi. However, it’s nowhere near as generous as Singapore Airlines’ offering because unless you are a Skywards Platinum member or flying first class, your free WiFi may be restricted to WhatsApp, Messenger, and other text messaging services.

Skywards Silver (and above) members in business class get free, unrestricted WiFi for the entire flight. Further down the plane, Silver and Gold members in premium economy or economy class are restricted to free messaging services. If you are required to pay, unrestricted WiFi access on Emirates tops out at USD20 per flight, regardless of duration.

Etihad and Qatar Airways have somewhat similar models. Eithad offers all its enrolled frequent flyers free messaging during their flights, but only first class and Eithad Guest platinum members get free unrestricted WiFi for the flight.

Qatar offers its Privilege Club members one hour of free WiFi per flight, regardless of flight length. First class passengers get a voucher for 200MB. The free champagne may flow on Qatar Airways, but the free WiFi does not…

Turkish Airlines Offers Mid-Tier WiFi

Turkish Airlines, which recently started flights to Melbourne, is more generous. Its business class passengers with Miles&Smiles Elite or Elite Plus Membership get unlimited WiFi. Business class passengers who aren’t members of the frequent flyer program get 1GB for free and unlimited messaging.

Down the back of the plane, the lowliest grade Miles&Smiles Classic members get unlimited messaging while higher status members flying cattle class get up to 400MB of complimentary internet access before being asked to reach for their credit card.

All of Cathay Pacific’s A350 and A321neo aircraft are WiFi-enabled, and the airline is rolling it out across its B777s and A330s. If you’re flying first class, the WiFi is complimentary and unlimited. Everyone else pays—unless you want to browse the Cathay Pacific site, which is free and open to all.

Mixed Results On US Airline WiFi

None of the four US carriers flying to Australia — United, Delta, American, or Hawaiian — offer free WiFi, but two of them are working on it. Delta and Hawaiian offer unlimited free WiFi on some or all domestic flights and are working to roll out the same service across their international networks.

Hawaiian intends to have its complimentary Starlink Internet service available on all transpacific flights by the end of 2024, and Delta says the vast majority of its passengers will have access to fast, free WiFi by the end of 2024, with every passenger on every flight having access by the end of 2025.

Air New Zealand Promises Free And Fast WiFi

Air New Zealand is also busy rolling out free internet access for all passengers regardless of cabin class. The airline hopes to have this in place by the end of the year. Passengers can expect speeds of up to 220Mbps and a latency of 30 milliseconds.

“Plane by plane, we’re extending the WiFi technology to more of our fleet,” says the airline. “We’re pleased to announce all of the recently returned B777s and A320Ns are now fully WiFi enabled, as well as a majority of the B787s.”

Bottom Line

Unlimited free WiFi for all passengers still remains the exception rather than the norm. The next decade will determine whether it remains a relatively niche extra on a handful of airlines or gains widespread traction.

Passengers would like to see it happen, but many airlines see pay-to-use WiFi as a potential revenue stream and might not surrender so easily.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by menshealthfits.
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