Airline Virgin Atlantic, which alongside Delta Air Lines runs up to 39 flights per day on the transatlantic route, claims to have become the “first airline in Europe to offer WiFi across its entire fleet,” which is based on a combination of technology from Panasonic and Gogo.
The airline claims that pricing for the service will start at £2.99 per month, although this only gets you a very basic “Messaging Pass” (i.e. you can only use it for messaging services like WhatsApp and it doesn’t even support sending photos or videos). Travellers who want more can opt for the £4.99 WiFi light or £14.99 WiFi max options, although the flexibility of these will depend on the aircraft (see below).
In this case, we note that the technology split is a bit different. Customers travelling on the 787 will use WiFi from Panasonic, while the A330s, 747s, A340-600s are powered by Gogo technology.
However a number of airlines, such as British Airways and now Virgin Atlantic, are finally upgrading their onboard connectivity (sadly I’ve yet to try a plane with this kit). Many of those tend to adopt GoGo’s 2Ku technology, which uses a mix of ground and space (satellite – Ku-band) stations to deliver onboard Internet access with speeds of up to 70-100Mbps (shared) over a local WiFi wireless network.
Mark Anderson, Executive VP of Customer at Virgin Atlantic, said:
“From today customers flying around the world with Virgin Atlantic can work and play throughout their flight as we become the first airline in Europe to offer a fully WiFi enabled fleet.”
Innovation has always been in our blood and we’ve worked closely with WiFi providers to develop the fastest, most reliable connection across the Atlantic, and are the first carrier to offer WiFi between the UK and the Caribbean, China and Africa.”
Apparently, 42% of customers opt for the WiFi max package, which lasts the entire flight. The work to add faster WiFi has actually been going on for the past few years and forms part of a £300m investment being made by Virgin Atlantic to upgrade its fleet with new service.
Source: Is Preview