Qantas Not Sure If Passengers Want In-Flight Net

Qantas Not Sure If Passengers Want In-Flight Net

Despite in-air Wi-Fi being pretty much standard in other markets and some earlier promises, Qantas’ efforts to date in offering onboard Internet have only resulted in a trial of streaming entertainment on a single plane. At the airline’s half-yearly results announcement, CEO Alan Joyce said there are still no fixed dates for making onboard internet available, and hinted that it might never happen.

Picture by Mike Flokis/Getty Images

While Qantas had promised that on-board internet would be a feature when it rolled out the A380 back in 2008, that never happened. The most visible evidence of progress is its recent Q Streaming pilot to deliver , but that is only being tested on a single aircraft, and right now Wi-Fi is being used to stream entertainment, not as a net access option.

I asked Alan Joyce at the results briefing what progress was being made towards offering an actual internet service on domestic and international flights. First of all, he emphasised that testing for the process would be slow:

We always test these first of all to see if the technology works. In every environment you’ve got different complexities with technology. In Australia, with the big land mass we have, we have to see if there are areas where it wouldn’t work. The Q streaming trial is to make sure we have that completely understood before we roll out more.

But Joyce also hinted that Qantas might decide not to invest in on-board internet:

We also want to test customer reaction to it . . . There are plenty of ways to spend money on our customers You have to spend the money, with limited funds, on the areas that matter.

While testing is important, I think it’s clear from international markets that Wi-Fi can be made to work without driving customers nuts, and that people like to use it. In other words, it matters. Here’s hoping that when the Q Streaming trial ends, we don’t wait months for further progress.


  • Are Qantas and for real?
    Sitting in a cramped seat in an aluminium tube full of smelly people for 20 hours is about as boring as it gets.
    Anything to relieve that boredom would be obviously be a good thing. I’m sure passengers will love onboard internet.
    Alan Joyce is full of s**t as usual.

  • If that’s the mentality of Qantas management then I’m not surprised the company is struggling.
    I would kill for unlimited internet access on 14hour inter-continental flight.
    Who cares about 1 hour, Melb – Syd.
    I was plesantly surprised lately when my short domestic flight had USB ports for charning at every seat.
    I’d love to play online games or surf the net on my laptop with a powerpoint on a 14hour flight.

  • Alan Joyce is without a doubt one of the most inept CEOs to ever walk the talk in this fair land of ours. I mean, for goodness sake, the man is completely idological to the point where he has no interest in:

    1) working rights
    2) on board internet connectivity
    3) customer rights
    4) brand value
    5) service
    6) saftey and reliabiliy

    Ever since Joyce took over, Qantas has entered its darkest days to the point where losses are engineered to create a PR spectacle that keeps the spin on profits, not people.

    His wifi comments are a joke and lack technical justification. The cost would surely be picked up by user-pay business models. if you can click an extra $25 per domestic flight for internet, most would surely say yes! It sounds expensive, but the net is such a commodity, such a useful human draw when you stuck in the most boring piece of shit space you can imagine outside of a prison cell, you can see the attraction.

    For longer, international flights, it’s just a nobrainer. Sell it by the hour, sell it by flight but just SELL the fucker ok Mr irish teabagger?

    I don’t wanna watch shitty censorsed movies for 14 hours to Los Angeles or 18 hours to Santiago. Charge a premium if you have to, us mega nerds can handle it. We’re addicted to the net like a smoker who needs 5 packs a day to keep him going.

    But don’t give us shit about customers don’t want it. That’s a lie. But you’re very good at that.

    Give the customer what they want – it can’t be that hard.

  • On international flights inflight internet can be added very easily to the QF A380s. This should be introduced ASAP. Domestically to offer it at an affordable rate requires a series of ground-based towers under flight paths as they have in the USA. The only routes with enough volume to justify the ground hardware would be BNE-SYD-MEL however the flight time really doesn’t make it worth paying for over such a short journey.

  • I have no idea how this trial is being run but if the conversations go something like this:

    “Would you like Wifi internet access?”
    “Fuck yeah!”
    “That’ll be a gajillion dollars for dial up speeds.”
    “Fuck that!”

    Then your trial is probably not going to indicate much demand from passengers

  • Joyce: “theres no way this inter-networks thingy is not gonna catch on… And what’s this crazy talk about “wi-fi”… Whose hi-fi stereo are you talking about.”

  • Having no internet on the plane doesn’t bother me at all. If I want entertainment, I’ll just watch the on demand stuff they have. All other times, I’m trying to sleep.

  • flew on the qantas plane with the new entertainment options. lots of films tv programs touch screens for each seat. im happy with that. i can live with out the internet. would like more food though. half a biscuit doesnt thrill me on a two hour flight

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!