British Airways is now offering high-speed inflight Internet on selected international flights, with domestic and European flights to follow by the end of the year, at prices ranging from £5 to £24 (A$8.75 to A$42).
First to be fitted with the satellite-based WiFi service will be BA’s Boeing 747 jumbo jets, followed by the Airbus A380 superjumbos jets, Boeing 777s – including the 777-300ER jets which fly to Sydney – and Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Also on the roster are BA's factory-fresh Airbus A350s, which will begin flying in 2019 with upgraded ClubWorld business class seats (below).
Passengers will be able to choose between two speeds: a Simply Connect tier will be aimed at basic usage such as web browsing, email and social media, while the premium Connect Plus package will allow video streaming such as Netflix and potentially live TV channels.
One hour of the basic Simply Connect tier will cost £4.99, with four hours at £10.99 and a 'flight pass' to stay online for the length of the flight priced at £14.99.
One hour of the faster Connect Plus service costs £7.99; four hours, £17.99; and a flight pass, £23.99.
British Airways CEO Alex Cruz told Australian Business Traveller that the concept of a monthly subscription was “ something we are thinking about”, adding that “I believe that ultimately you should be able to pay for WiFi with your Avios.”
BA’s international flights will use 2Ku technology from Gogo which is capable of supplying 70Mbps per plane, although that signal must then be shared amongst all passengers and devices.
Inflight WiFi on flights across the UK and Europe will rely on a network of ground-based 4G base stations and Inmarsat's Europasat high-speed communications satellite.
90% of the entire BA fleet is expected to be kitted out for Wi-Fi by the end of 2019.