Virgin Australia’s inflight WiFi service is making a long-overdue comeback, sharpening the challenger’s competitive edge against rival Qantas – and unlike Qantas, Virgin's Internet service will be available on international flights, including the new Cairns-Tokyo route.
However, while the Flying Kangaroo offers free Qantas WiFi to every passenger, Virgin’s inflight Internet is free only to business class passengers, Velocity Platinum frequent flyers and members of the invitation-only Virgin Australia Beyond VIP program.
For anyone else, Virgin Australia’s inflight WiFi is offered in two “high-speed” packages:
- the 30 Minute Pass, priced at around $10, is obviously good for 30 minutes online
- the Flight Pass, costing around $20, lets you remain connected for the duration of your flight
You can pay with American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa cards – cash payment are not accepted.
How fast is Virgin Australia WiFi?
Executive Traveller tested Virgin Australia WiFi on a recent Virgin Australia flight between Sydney and Melbourne.
Connecting to Virgin’s inflight Internet service was as easy as hooking up to any cafe or airport lounge – you can directly join Virgin Australia's onboard WiFi network at wifi.virginaustralia.com from any laptop, smartphone or tablet, and there’s no need to run the Virgin Australia app.
Download speeds were clocked at just under 5Mbps, although the speed test was unable to measure the upload rate.
In practical terms, the connection was stable if relatively slow – especially compared to the 10-15Mbps of Qantas WiFi – but sufficient for emails, general Web browsing and social media.
However, it’s worth noting that you can connect only one device at a time.
How many Virgin Australia aircraft have WiFi?
At the time of writing, Virgin Australia is in the process of restarting WiFi right across its Boeing 737 fleet after the service was switched off in April 2020, when the airline collapsed into administration before being bought by Bain Capital.
Virgin says it hopes the new Intelsat 2Ku satellite service will “gradually be installed” on the majority of the airline’s Boeing 737 fleet by mid-2024: so for now, Virgin’s passengers should consider WiFi to be more a ‘surprise and delight’ than a given on their next flight.