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Virgin Australia is adding inflight Internet to all trans-Tasman flights as the airline steps up its fight against Qantas and Air New Zealand as the longtime foe and former beau launch their own alliance.
WiFi will be available on all Virgin flights between Australia and New Zealand from October 28, with all passengers receiving 15 minutes of free access, after which the meter will begin running at a rate of $7 for one hour or $13 for the entire flight.
Virgin Australia says that speeds will be sufficient for video streaming along with Web browsing, email and the obligatory social media updates.
A spokesperson for Virgin Australia confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that some Boeing 737 jets crossing the pond already have WiFi fitted, with more to follow in the lead-up to the official October 28 launch date.
However, the 'first 15 minutes free' deal won't be activated until October 28 – so for now, if you walk onto a Virgin Australia Boeing 737 flying to or from New Zealand and it happens to sport that tell-tale WiFi hump, you'll need to pay at least $7 to get online.
Velocity Points earned on dollars, not distance
Virgin is also bringing its Velocity Frequent Flyer scheme into the fray and will shift to a spend-based earning model for New Zealand flights, with the number of Velocity points earned based on how much travellers pay for their ticket rather than how many kilometres they fly.
From October 28, trans-Tasman travellers will earn a minimum of five Velocity Points per Australian dollar, with the points bonus for Velocity Platinum, Gold and Silver members boosting this as high as ten points per dollar.
There’ll also be an uplift in the number of status credits earned on flights to and from New Zealand, depending on which type of ticket you buy.
Business class fares will be split into Business Saver and Business categories, with the former earning the same 60 status credits as under the current fare structure for a Sydney-Auckland flight but the later raking in 90 status credits.
On the same route, today's full-priced flexible economy fare goes from 30 status credits to 45 status credits.