Review: Virgin Australia inflight WiFi
Executive Traveller puts Virgin Australia’s new inflight WiFi service to the test...
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.
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Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards
12 May 2022
Total posts 13
The good thing is that is that most people on the plane will need to pay for it, this means it's should been speedier for those that really want it/want to pay as it's leaving more bandwidth.
11 Jul 2014
Total posts 896
With the amount of attempted hacks into our company’s computer system which is starting to happen weekly, how secure is this type of wi fi?
Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards
06 Aug 2017
Total posts 77
I've connected to it a few times flying between Melbourne and Sydney; it's perfectly fine for browsing, emails etc but definitely flaky for streaming. Better than nothing, though!
To answer @upupandaway 's question: it's as secure as any unsecured network -- ie, not secure. As with any unsecured network, I would personally never use it for sensitive tasks such as banking.
08 Aug 2012
Total posts 14
My recent experience on a flight back to BNE was 66Mbps download and 3Mbps upload. Certainly a lot more than your quoted < 5Mbps. Netflix quote 3Mbps as the recommended speed for 720p streaming, so even with 5Mbps you shouldn't have any issues streaming.
07 Jun 2016
Total posts 9
Lot of trouble with it recognising my name and seat number on two different flights in order to access the platinum access. On the second flight I had changed seats shortly before boarding and it never recognised me so couldn't access at all.