Virgin Australia ramps up WiFi to USA, then Asia

By David Flynn, August 10 2017
Virgin Australia ramps up WiFi to USA, then Asia

Virgin Australia plans to extend its inflight Internet service onto Boeing 777 flights to the USA and Airbus A330 services to Hong Kong and China, following a roll-out of the WiFi service across its domestic fleet.

The airline has started work fitting the ncessary satellite tech to its Boeing 737 fleet, which mainly flies routes within Australia but also darts across the Tasman to New Zealand.

Virgin has also pledged to provide "a base level of free WiFi to all of our guests on domestic flights", with the option to pay for a 'premium' service.

Read more: Virgin Australia to match Qantas with free WiFi on Aussie flights

The international Boeing 777 fleet will start to see WiFi onboard from October, although even with just five jets it's going to be a slow process – Virgin expects the entire Boeing 777 fleet won't be wired (or rather, unwired) until the end of 2018, along with "the majority of Boeing 737 aircraft."

The Airbus A330s will also have to take their turn in the queue, with these jets not kitted out until the second half of 2019.

“We want to provide the world’s most rewarding travel experience and we know that enabling our guests to remain connected while flying is central to that," said Virgin Australia Group CEO John Borghetti.

Australian flights will rely on a satellite from telco Optus, while international services will tap into a seperate network of satellites through service provider Gogo.

Read the AusBT review of Virgin's inflight WiFi service


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.

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20 Jan 2016

Total posts 61

I was a little excited when i saw WIFI on 777 from October as I am off to LAX in Nov..  It appears however that I have a 1 in 5 chance..  fingers crossed. 

There seems to be a lot of moving parts going on at VA at the moment.   Is the extended implementation is related to 737 business class refit occurring at the same time?. 

A lot of these changes are great news for flying VA,  but it will lead to some very variable passenger experiences over the next two years.  

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1021

Rollouts of these types always take time.  To take aircraft offline for a week or so needs to be planned well in advance and these upgrades will typically be timed to occur alongside other heavy maintenance.  With a fleet of 75 737s, an 18 month rollout sounds pretty good.  

As well as the fleet management issue, there is also getting available hangar space.  As you saw with QF's A330 upgrade, the capacity of its BNE maintenance base meant only one aircraft was being handled at a time.  VA has the same issues and with some of its heavy maintenance offshore, it has to align with its suppliers' capacity planning.


11 Jul 2014

Total posts 710

I'm glad we have the Virgin option in Australia, and even the most loyalist of Qantas Flyers should be as well. Just keep lifting the bar and remember a CEO who is good at marketing is always better then compression.

05 May 2017

Total posts 4

05 May 2017

Total posts 4

05 May 2017

Total posts 4

  Though despite having a Netflix subscription, following the netflix link led to an "offer not found" page. However on my iphone, Netflix and Stan performed perfectly through my existing accounts. iView failed due to GEOblocking.

07 Dec 2016

Total posts 37

The photo of the contented Virgin passenger enjoying WiFi access, has a remarkable resemblance to Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce. Someone in Virgin Marketing is enjoying themselves!

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