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, March 4 2020
Your complete guide to Qantas inflight WiFi

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 starting from 2021-2022.

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. 

Which Qantas flights have WiFi?

Almost all domestic Qantas flights now 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 March 2020, the running tally stood at some 80 WiFi-enabled jets out of a domestic fleet of around 85 aircraft, and according to Qantas, 80% of the A330-200s.)

Do Qantas international flights have WiFi?

Not yet. Although Qantas has trialled inflight WiFi on its Airbus A380s, speeds were very slow and passenger uptake was minimal.

The airline has decided to wait until 2021-2022, when technology company ViaSat switches on its worldwide ViaSat-3 constellation of superspeed satellites, which will be capable of delivering the same download rates and reliable performance as on Qantas' domestic flights.

"You can't have everybody in the aircraft (online at once) and you certainly can't have everybody streaming (video),” Qantas CEO Alan Joyce says of the current satellite technology.

Once all three ViaSat-3 satellites are in orbit, Qantas will then add international WiFi to its Airbus A380 and Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleets, as well as some international versions of the Airbus A330 and the Project Sunrise Airbus A350 jets.

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

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 mid-2020)
Airbus A330 (domestic) Yes (most Qantas Airbus A330s already have WiFi, all will have WiFi by mid-2020)
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.
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.

In addition, the My Trip section in the Qantas App will also provide details about WiFi availability for your flight.

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.
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?

As soon as you settle into your seat on a WiFi-equipped Qantas flight, you can log onto the Qantas WiFi system – even while the aircraft is still sitting at the departure gate.

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 hotspot, then go to wifi.qantas.com in your Web browser, 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.
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.

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

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.

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.

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