Virgin Australia will match Qantas in offering free Internet on all Australian flights from later this year.
Virgin today fired the starter's gun on its own WiFi rollout, announcing plans to outfit most of its 77-strong Boeing 737 fleet with the satellite technology by the end of 2018.
Inflight Internet will also be available - at a price that's yet to be revealed - on Virgin's Boeing 777 flights to the USA and Airbus A330 services to Hong Kong and China.
Speaking to Australian Business Traveller this morning, airline CEO John Borghetti said all passengers on those domestic legs flown by the Boeing 737s will enjoy "a basic free offering" of Internet access.
Free access will not apply to the handful of Boeing 737 international routes such as New Zealand and Fiji "at this stage, but you know that we are competitive and will always meet the competitive position in the market," Borghetti said.
Two-tier system: free, and a fee
Borghetti also confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that the airline would implement a two-tiered system, with passengers able to pay "to upgrade that to further access, depending on what the guest wants."
This paid premium package is tipped to offer more security and could also offer a consistently faster connection compared to the entry-level free service, depending on how service provider Gogo configures the system.
Borghetti tells Australian Business Traveller that "we’re going to release the pricing structure shortly."
Virgin's move towards a two-tier system – first reported by Australian Business Traveller earlier this year – could put it at odds against Qantas, which promises a single-tier system that's fast and free for all travellers.
Instead, Virgin plans for what it has termed Basic and High Speed options – the latter of which was pitched at between $15 to $21 per flight in a survey sent to selected Virgin Australia passengers in March 2017.