Your complete guide to Qantas inflight WiFi

Qantas WiFi is fast, free and available on almost every domestic Qantas flight, making it perfect for the busy business traveller.

By David Flynn, August 1 2019

Qantas WiFi offers a very fast and pleasingly free way to stay connected above the clouds on its domestic Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 flights, and WiFi will likely be extended to international flights – including on the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 jets – from 2021.

This Executive Traveller guide to Qantas WiFi will be updated on a rolling basis to cover the state of play with the airline’s inflight Internet service. 

Do Qantas flights have WiFi?

Yes, most domestic Qantas flights have WiFi. This includes the Boeing 737s which are the workhorse of Qantas’ domestic fleet, along with  the twin-aisle Airbus A330s typically seen on east-west routes.

(As at July 2019, the running tally stood at 70 WiFi-enabled jets out of a domestic fleet of around 85 aircraft, with all of them to be fitted with WiFi before the end of 2019.)

However, international Qantas flights won't have WiFi until at least 2021. This includes flights on the Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner, as well as some international versions of the Airbus A330.

Which Qantas aircraft are equipped with WiFi?

 Qantas aircraft     WiFi-enabled?  
Boeing 737 (domestic) Yes (most Qantas Boeing 737s already have WiFi, all will have WiFi by the end of 2019)
Airbus A330 (domestic) Yes (most Qantas Airbus A330s already have WiFi, all will have WiFi by the end of 2019)
Airbus A330 (international) No
Airbus A380 No
Boeing 747 No
Boeing 787 Dreamliner No

How much does Qantas WiFi cost?

Happily, there’s no price tag for using Qantas’ sky-high WiFi: unlike most airlines around the world, Qantas WiFi is completely free. And, perhaps even more important, it’s fast.

How fast is Qantas WiFi?

Qantas WiFi generally runs at a download speed of 10-15Mbps. That’s quicker than many home Internet connections, which is especially ironic considering that the Qantas WiFi signal is being bounced off a satellite some 36,000km above the earth

At 10-15Mbps you can easily watch streaming high-definition video on services such as Netflix, and also deal with large file attachments send via email.

Click here to read our review of Qantas WiFi.

How do I get Qantas WiFi?

When browsing for flights on the Qantas website, watch for a small black WiFi icon. This doesn’t guarantee you’ll be on a WiFi-enabled flight – Qantas notes this means only ‘Chance of WiFi’ – but with most of the domestic fleet now fitted with WiFi, your chances are pretty good.

When searching for flights on the Qantas website, these icons indicate if the flight is likely to have Qantas WiFi.

If the icon is in grey and has a diagonal strike running through it, this means your flight won’t have WiFi (usually due to the type of aircraft being used).

Once you’re at the airport, the departure board in the main terminal or at the Qantas lounge will also show a WiFi icon next to any WiFi-enabled flights. 

Do I need the Qantas App to use Qantas WiFi?

You don’t need to have the Qantas App to use Qantas WiFi. You can connect directly to Qantas WiFi network from any device – smartphone, tablet, laptop or even a smartwatch – in exactly the same way that you’d connect to a WiFi hotspot at work, home, a hotel or your local cafe.

Connect to Qantas WiFi in the same way that you'd hook up to any wireless hotspot on your phone, tablet or laptop.

How do I login to Qantas WiFi?

If you’re using a smartphone or other 3G or 4G device (such as a tablet with its own SIM card), switch on Flight Mode and then re-activate WiFi.

Browse for local WiFi networks and you’ll see one marked ‘Qantas Free WiFi’. Connect to this, then go to wifi.qantas.com in your Web browser.

You’ll need to enter your name and seat number, click to accept the terms and conditions, and then you’re online.

One interesting feature of Qantas WiFi is a real-time Qantas Flight View available from the Qantas WiFi Portal,  which provides a moving 3D map where you can see what your plane is passing over. Points of interest are pinned, so you can click on them to reveal more information.

The live Qantas Flight View takes the 'moving map' to a new dimension.

How does Qantas WiFi work?

Qantas WiFi uses the NBN Sky Muster satellite service, which has a footprint covering all of Australia.

Each Qantas WiFi-enabled aircraft has a small satellite antenna ‘hump’ on top of the fuselage, and a number of WiFi hotspots fitted into the ceiling.

Passengers connect to these hotspots, the hotspots feed into this antenna and the signals are beamed up to the Sky Muster satellite, and then down to a satellite station on the ground, at which point they connect to the Internet.

WiFi-enabled Qantas aircraft sport this tell-tale hump – that's the satellite antenna.


Does the Qantas Airbus A380 have WiFi?

Although Qantas conducted a trial of WiFi on the Airbus A380 superjumbo back in early 2012, the Qantas A380 fleet is not equipped with WiFi.

Is Qantas WiFi available on international flights?

Qantas international flights, including the decade-old Airbus A380s and much newer Boeing 787s, currently don’t have have WiFi.

Qantas CEO Alan Joyce tells Executive Traveller that this is simply because the current satellite technology isn’t fast enough to be shared among all passengers. "You can't have everybody in the aircraft (online at once) and you certainly can't have everybody streaming (video),” Joyce says.

This will change from 2021, when technology company ViaSat switches on its worldwide ViaSat 3 constellation of superspeed satellites.

Qantas will then look to outfit its Airbus A380s, Boeing 787s and the new Project Sunrise jets (which will either be the Airbus A350 or Boeing 777-8) with next-generation ViaSat 3 equipment.

Qantas chose not to fit its international fleet with today’s satellite gear because "we don’t want a sub-standard product," Joyce explains, as once the ViaSat 3 network comes online "we'd have to rip it out and put on new antennas (and) new equipment."

Read more: Qantas to launch high-speed international WiFi by 2021

David

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.