Air Canada to roll out free WiFi

The Canadian flag-carrier wants to make it easier for travellers to stay connected and entertained above the clouds.

By David Flynn, June 6 2023
Air Canada to roll out free WiFi
Executive Traveller exclusive

Air Canada intends to join the worldwide push towards free inflight WiFi, beginning with its regional network before extending the service to mainline domestic and international flights.

The Star Alliance member currently charges CAD$6.50 per hour or CAD$21 for a flight pass, along with a CAD$70 monthly pass covering Air Canada flights between airports in Canada, the USA and Mexico.

But the airline’s ‘free WiFi roadmap’, shared with Executive Traveller by Mark Nasr, Air Canada’s Executive Vice President Marketing and Digital, shows the path towards fast and free connectivity for all Air Canada flights.

Nasr remarked that Air Canada doesn’t charge for WiFi today in order to actually make money, but to keep bandwidth available for those who want WiFi and stopping the system from getting congested.

An important first step is free unlimited messaging on apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Apple iMessage and Google Messages.

This was launched on May 15 and includes Air Canada’s Rouge and Express arms for all members of the Aeroplan loyalty program or ‘strategic partner airlines’ such as Emirates and the Star Alliance family.

Five channels of live TV are being added to the mix on Canadian domestic flights.

As WiFi bandwidth and capabilities grow, Nasr said travellers would be able to sign into their own accounts on streaming content services including Netflix, Disney Plus, Apple TV+, Spotify, Hayu, SportsNet and DAZN.

The apps would be preloaded onto Air Canada’s seatback screens, enabling a “watch your own” offering alongside regular content.

“Full, fast and free” WiFi for regional flights is the next stop on Air Canada’s roadmap, with a final ‘future state’ destination of WiFi that’s “fast, free and ubiquitous” across the entire Air Canada group network.

Air Canada - Aeroplan

28 Feb 2015

Total posts 111

Firt they have to get free messaging to work properly. I took a 3-stage international flight on 16 May (the day after free messaging started, to be fair) - two domestic and one over the Pacific - and messaging only worked on one of the three flights. Other people were having the same problem.

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