Qantas has finally entered the in-flight Internet era, with six Airbus A380s now kitted out with wifi access points and a satellite Internet connection to beam signals back to the ground
The trial will run through to the beginning of May on A380 flights from Sydney and Melbourne to Los Angeles.
Qantas says that in-flight Internet will initially be available to first and business class, before being extended to premium economy and economy passengers.
What's it like to go sky-high surfing on a Qantas A380 en route to LAX? Read our exclusive review from the business class cabin during last week's test phase!
“Over the past week Qantas has conducted some preliminary testing and is pleased to now trial the service with customers flying between Australia and Los Angeles" says Alison Webster, Qantas Executive Manager for Customer Experience.
"The eight week trial will give customers the opportunity to access the Internet in exactly the same way as a terrestrial Wi-Fi hotspot in which customers can pay with their credit card and surf the Internet, including the use of email."
Passengers will be able to connect their smartphone, tablet or laptop to the A380's internal wireless network. The system will support regular Web browsing, email and apps but VoIP services such as Skype will be blocked, as will mobile phone calls.
A Qantas spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller that for the first few weeks of the trial – when access will be limited to passengers in the First and Business cabins – the service will be offered free of charge, before introducing a range of pay-to-surf packages to test uptake.
"Initially when we launch the trial it will be free, then there will be a period with several paid packages so we can get an indication of the demand at different price points" she said.
"We're working through the details of those packages at the moment, and once the trial is finished we'll be setting the cost based on that."
Following the trial, Qantas will assess opportunities for the long-term application of internet capabilities across its A380 fleet.