- Pay no more than US$19.95 for unlimited access – provided you select that plan upfront
- It'd be great if you could 'upgrade' from the 1-hour plan to the full flight pass at a discounted rate
- Your paid plan can easily migrate from one device to another, and then back again
Cathay Pacific's Airbus A350-1000s appear on many of the airline's intercontinental routes, and offer travellers access to paid WiFi.
When border restrictions permit, this includes flights to Australia: on which travellers can keep in touch with a credit card handy.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000 inflight Internet: access options
Cathay Pacific provides two options for travellers to get online at 40,000 feet:
- One hour plan: Priced at US$9.95 (~A$13.75) with no data limit.
- Full flight plan: You'll pay US$19.95 (~A$27.60) for unlimited access, per flight.
Under the plan structures above, there's no worrying about how much data you consume – or indeed, excess charges that may apply – because the charge is based on a set period of time only.
Either you connect to the one hour plan, or you pay roughly double that to remain online for the entire flight.
Just be aware that the one hour plan can't be paused, so choose your timing carefully.
As well, it's not possible to 'upgrade' from the hour-long option to the full flight plan if you later decide you'd like to stay online longer.
Once those 60 minutes are up, your only option for staying connected is to pay for a new plan at full price – and even if that's only paying for an extra hour, by that time, you'd have practically paid the same as for a whole flight pass, for just two hours of connectivity.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000 inflight Internet: getting online
You know the drill: connect to the plane's WiFi hotspot, and your browser should pop open to help you connect. If it doesn't, just type in www.wifi.cathaypacific.com.
Select your plan, create an account if it's your first time using the service (or login if you're a returning customer), enter your credit card details, and you're sorted.
With payment taken care of, click the big red 'connect' button, and you'll be online.
If you're on the one hour plan, clicking that button is what starts the timer – and as a reminder, once you've started your 60 minutes of access, you can't pause your time and come back later.
You can, however, move your paid plan from one device to another by logging into that other gadget using the credentials you created or used as part of the process above.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-1000 inflight Internet: usability
Connecting for an hour on a jaunt from Hong Kong to Perth provided more than enough time to catch up on a few emails, and use that time online to prepare for a busy week ahead.
Although speed testing services were blocked on the connection – to save bandwidth, no doubt – the service proved ample for those basic tasks like email and web browsing.
For travellers who plan to stay connected for more than an hour, there's no doubt the full flight pass provides the best value.
But again, make that decision before you connect to a plan, given you can't 'trade-in' a paid one-hour pass for a discounted upgrade to a full flight plan.
Chris Chamberlin travelled as a guest of Cathay Pacific.