Qantas has axed its plans to offer sky-high surfing across its Airbus A380 fleet, citing a lacklustre response from travellers.
Over the weekend the airline ended its nine-month trial of inflight Internet on selected A380 routes.
"Whilst customers who used the Wi-Fi service told us that they valued the option to connect in flight, overall the trial has demonstrated a lower than expected take-up of the service, particularly on overnight flights where sleep was their priority" explained a Qantas spokeswoman.
"Given the large proportion of Qantas’ A380 services are overnight flights, at this time we’ve decided not to offer the service across our A380 fleet on a permanent basis."
A statement issued to the media later today advised that "average take-up during the commercial trial was less than 5 per cent."
"Naturally, the costs associated with offering a reliable internet connection in-flight are significantly higher than on the ground, particularly when you are flying over vast expanses of ocean and can’t connect to ground towers."
At first slated as an eight-week trial beginning in March this year, the service saw six Airbus A380s kitted out with wifi access points and a satellite Internet connection to beam signals back to the ground.
At the time of the launch, a Qantas spokesperson told Australian Business Traveller that for the first few weeks of the trial, Internet would be offered free of charge to passengers in first class and business class, 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. 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."
AusBT reader and Platinum frequent flyer Andrew Hazelton, who reviewed the Qantas inflight Internet service from Sydney to Los Angeles A380, reported it was "fine for Facebook chat and allowed reasonable downloads for emails on the iPhone and laptop."
With Qantas pulling the plug, this leaves Emirates and Singapore Airlines as the only carriers offering inflight Internet on flights to and from Australia.
For more on this story tune into 'Business Class', Australia's national TV show for business travellers, on Sky New Business Channel (Foxtel 602) from 2.30pm today, Monday December 3rd.
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