Virgin Atlantic Installs Wifi Across All Planes. But What Does it Cost?
On 1 September 2017, Virgin Atlantic began offering WiFi across its entire fleet, ensuring customers can now remain connected on all flights to and from the US, Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Passengers travelling with Virgin Atlantic in all classes will now be able to use the internet to email, browse and socialise at 35,000ft while keeping connected to their various businesses on ground.
With this ambitious WiFi programme, Virgin Atlantic has become the first airline in Europe to have in-flight WiFi across the entire fleet – at least a year ahead of other European long haul carriers.
The airlines said it worked closely with WiFi providers to develop the fastest, most reliable connection across the Atlantic and has become the first carrier to offer WiFi between the UK and the Caribbean, China and Africa
To celebrate being the first European airline to boast a fully WiFi connected fleet, Virgin Atlantic will be kicking off a summer long series of fun events from the sky, connecting together with #LiveFromVirgin.
Using a combination of Panasonic and Gogo technology, WiFi is now available across the fleet of 39 aircraft and connectivity is available above 10,000ft so customers will be able to connect shortly after take-off, and remain online until shortly before landing.
While prices for the internet connectivity across all the airline's fleet appear to be the same, data services on the Boeing 787 are volume based while time based on the rest of the airline's Boeing and Airbus fleet.
On flights operated by the Boeing 787 fleet, WiFi light costs £4.99 for 40MB of data while WiFi max costs £14.99 for 150MB of data.
On flights operated by A330, A340 and Boeing 747, Messaging Pass which is for messaging throughout the flight, costs £2.99 ; WiFi light costs £4.99 for one hour internet access while WiFi max costs £14.99 for full flight internet access.
Now, that doesn't come cheap but that is what you have to part with if you have to stay connected while flying with the British carrier which touts itself as premium airline.
Virgin Atlantic is using a combination of two WiFi providers across the network; customers travelling on the Boeing 787 will use WiFi from Panasonic, while the A330s, 747s, A340-600s are powered by Gogo technology.
While in-flight WiFi is now becoming commonplace, it is easier to be offered on overland flights than on flights that operate over vast expanses of ocean – such as the Atlantic.
Unlike flying over land, WiFi signals cannot come from the ground, and instead has to be transmitted to aircraft from satellites.
Chidozie Uzoezie is an aviation enthusiast, a frequent flyer, a freelance writer and a travel blogger. He is the editor and the publisher of The Afritraveller. He blogs and writes mostly about aviation, air travel and airlines products and services, especially with respect to passenger experience, #PaxEx. He is also the creator and the admin of the African Aviation Group on Facebook. Follow him on twitter @The Afritraveller