Qantas expects to move its inflight WiFi service out of the current 'beta' trial mode in September this year, at which point it plans to have ten Boeing 737 jets fitted with the latest satellite tech.
The airline says that when properly launched, its Qantas WiFi service "will offer faster speeds and improved reliability" compared to what's already on offer in the trial program.
What travellers won't notice will be any change to the pricing, with inflight Internet remaining free for all passengers.
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However, plans to kit out an Airbus A330 for east-west Internet have been pushed back from the previous mid-year timeline, a Qantas spokesperson tells Australian Business Traveller.
"We are focusing on the 737s for now and we will turn our attention to the A330s later this year."
It's also looking less and less likely that the tech will be seen on the QantasLink Boeing 717 jets – some of which will be rostered onto weekend flights between Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane from August 2017 – or their Fokker 100 and Bombardier Dash 8 siblings.
The results from the trial period to date indicate download speeds routinely topping 12Mbps, which is faster than most home or office ADSL2+ broadband connections, with the most popular usage times being mornings and evenings, particularly on the Sydney-Melbourne route.
Qantas says that a third of passengers on its WiFi-equipped jet are logging on, with email and Web browsing – particularly visiting news websites – the most popular activities, followed by social media (where Facebook takes the lead over Twitter and Instagram), streaming video and music, and messaging services such as WhatsApp.
Qantas' 80-strong domestic Boeing 737 and A330 fleet is expected to be upgraded by late 2018, with the airline also considering extending the service to international flights – although its factory-fresh Boeing 787s won't be delivered with WiFi on board.
Qantas began its inflight Internet trials in April, alongside rival Virgin Australia, with the challenger also currently running this as a free trial service.