Virgin Australia launches WiFi on Los Angeles flights

By David Flynn, May 8 2018

Virgin Australia has flicked the WiFi switch on flights between Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Los Angeles, with passengers now able to stay connected above the clouds – for a price.

That price is $9 for one hour of inflight Internet access, although the $20 'flight pass' which covers the entire 14-15 hour journey is undoubtedly better value.

Virgin says the connection speeds are suitable for "Web browsing, email, messaging and social media" but not streaming video, while voice calls on services such as Skype and FaceTime are blocked.

But it won't be smooth surfing all the way to LA, with the airline advising travellers that the service "is currently impacted by satellite availability and typically has two services interruptions during the flight."

"These interruptions are likely to occur at 4 and 1.5 hours prior to landing at LAX and may result in a 30-60 minute outage."

Four of Virgin's five Boeing 777-300ER jets which are dedicated to Australia-Los Angeles flights have already been outfitted with the Gogo satellite technology, with the fifth getting its upgrade this month.

The airline began trialling its trans-Pacific WiFi system in late 2017 as a free service as a public 'beta test' of the technology.

United Airlines, American Airlines and Virgin partner Delta Air Lines all offer WiFi on their Australia-US flights.

Qantas' current focus remains on the rollout of domestic WiFi on its Boeing 737 workhorses, with the airline not expected to add WiFi to its international flights until 2019 at the earliest. 

Also read: Qantas delays Airbus A330 WiFi rollout to 2019-2020

However, while Qantas' domestic WiFi service is free, Virgin Australia now charges passengers for a high-speed connection on domestic flights, although slower connections will remain free of charge.

Virgin's fast WiFi pricing is based on the length of the flight, with a baseline of $9 per flight on shorter routes such as Brisbane-Sydney and Sydney-Melbourne.

Read more: Virgin Australia begins charging for fast WiFi at $9 per flight

WiFi should also be available on Virgin's Boeing 737 flights to and from New Zealand, Fiji and Bali in the coming months.

Virgin's Airbus A330s – currently most often seen on east-west flights but increasingly being switched to new Asian routes, including Sydney and Melbourne to Hong Kong –  are slated to for their WiFi upgrade from late 2018 through to early 2020.

David
David

David Flynn

David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

CityRail

CityRail

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

17 Nov 2014

Total posts 92

When will Virgin Australia launches WiFi to Hong Kong then?

David

David

24 Oct 2010

Total posts 2322

When we know that, we’ll share it - but the airline has most recently said it doesn’t plan to start its overhaul of Airbus A330 jets until late 2018, with the upgrade for the six jets stretching out to 2020.

reeves35

reeves35

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 513

It won't happen until the A332s are fitted which is scheduled to commence once the 737s are finished. Realistically, you'd think this will mean fitting in will happen about a year from now though the fleet is quite stretched so it will only be one at a time.

Well done to VA in being open about the expected coverage outages. They are also honest about the performance that can be expected. Over time both of these may improve but advising passengers of the limitations means users can plan and don't get unpleasant surprises.

guy

guy

05 Mar 2012

Total posts 26

Great to see some reasonable pricing - $20 for the whole flight seems very fair

themmc

themmc

10 May 2018

Total posts 2

Any ideas on what tail numbers have the upgrades? Flying next week on VA8 and curious if I'll have it.

rob1984

rob1984

23 May 2011

Total posts 32

all of them in service, the last one to be fitted is out of service so 100% of the fleet has it

hdw000

hdw000

29 Mar 2018

Total posts 4

This service will be great and seems reasonable pricing also. Does anyone know if the CPHTRAVELWIFI service is included on these flights?

azriazmi90

azriazmi90

Malaysia Airlines - Enrich

28 Feb 2017

Total posts 8

$20 for unlimited data?

hdw000

hdw000

29 Mar 2018

Total posts 4

I haven't done the currency conversion but yes with Cphtravelwifi service it will cost you around $20 a month for unlimited data which is a pretty good deal versus others.

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