Your complete guide to Virgin Australia inflight WiFi

Virgin Australia's inflight WiFi keeps you connected on most domestic and international flights.

By Brandon Loo, September 20 2019

Virgin Australia's inflight WiFi is rapidly rolling out across most of the airline's domestic, trans-Tasman and longer-range international flights to Los Angeles and Hong Kong.

A basic WiFi service suitable for Web browsing, email and social media is free on Virgin flights within Australia, with higher-speed options for streaming video or working with larger files via the cloud, while WiFi pricing on overseas flights starts at $6.99 per hour.

This Executive Traveller guide to Virgin Australia WiFi will be continuously updated to provide you with the latest news and developments.

Do Virgin Australia flights have WiFi?

Yes, most domestic and international Virgin Australia flights have inflight internet connectivity.

You'll find these info cards in your seat pocket if the flight has WiFi.

At the time of writing, about 70% of the airline's domestic fleet have been retrofitted with the tell-tale WiFi hump. This includes  Virgin's workhorse Boeing 737s – the most common jets flying on domestic and short international routes (such as to New Zealand) – and the larger twin-aisle Airbus A330s typically seen on coast-to-coast transcontinental and Hong Kong routes.

Regional Virgin Australia ATR and Airbus A320 jets won't be getting inflight connectivity, however.

Which Virgin Australia aircraft are equipped with WiFi?

VA aircraft    WiFi-enabled?  
Boeing 737 (domestic) Yes (most VA B737 domestic flights have WiFi)
Boeing 737 (international) Yes (nearly all VA B737 international flights have WiFi)
Airbus A330 (domestic) Yes (at least four A330s currently have WiFi)
Airbus A330 (international) Yes (at least four A330s currently have WiFi)
Boeing 777 (international) Yes (all VA B777 flights have WiFi)
ATRs, Airbus A320, Fokker 100 No (regional jets won't get WiFi)

As of September 2019 the airline's WiFi upgrades to the Boeing 737 and Airbus A330 fleet "is around 70% complete", a Virgin Australia spokesperson tells Executive Traveller.

Is Virgin Australia WiFi free?

Yes, on all domestic and trans-Tasman flights Virgin Australia offers a free serve of inflight Internet access.

On domestic flights there's unlimited free WiFi, although the speeds are generally capped at around 1Mbps – suitable for "basic Web browsing, email and social media", Virgin Australia tells Executive Traveller.

On flights between Australia and New Zealand, Virgin's trans-Tasman travellers currently get 15 minutes of free WiFi, after which the paid plans kick in.

(Note that access to Virgin Australia's own web site remains free for all passengers on connected aircraft, in case you need to book more flights or manage your upcoming bookings online.)

How much does Virgin Australia WiFi cost?

Aside from those free Virgin Australia WiFi options, if you want even faster speeds or limitless WiFi, the following charges apply (all prices in Australian dollars):

  • Domestic: $11.99 for a higher-speed connection than the free Standard tier
  • trans-Tasman and short-range international: from $6.99 per hour or $12.99 for the whole flight
  • long-range international (Los Angeles, Hong Kong): from $8.99 per hour or $19.99 for the whole flight

How fast is Virgin Australia WiFi?

Internet speeds depend heavily on the number of users also connected at the same time.

In general, expect the free WiFi on domestic flights to be capped around 1Mbps when there's heavy use, such as weekday mornings and evenings – that's good enough for light work, emails and the like.

Virgin Australia's free domestic WiFi service is fine for basic Web browsing, email and social media.

The paid plans ratchet up "to 13Mbps for higher-bandwidth applications such as video streaming and downloading large files or attachments," a Virgin Australia spokesperson tells Executive Traveller.

At those speeds you should be able to comfortably browse content-heavy websites and indulge in HD video streaming. Thankfully, voice calls and video chat apps are blocked.

With fast WiFi, Virgin Australia's Airbus A330 business class becomes a cosy office above the clouds.

However, when few people are connected, even the free service can reach those rates: Executive Traveller recently clocked Virgin Australia's free WiFi at 11.5Mbps down and 12.6Mbps up on a mid-morning Melbourne-Launceston flight. 

Speeds can drop when switching between satellites or reaching the edge of the coverage zone, especially on overseas flights.

Here are the Executive Traveller reviews for Virgin Australia's domestic (Boeing 737) WiFi and Virgin Australia's international (Boeing 777) WiFi.

How do I book a flight with Virgin Australia WiFi?

All Virgin Australia flights from Australia to Los Angeles and destinations in New Zealand should have inflight WiFi connectivity.

Domestic and other short-range international flights offer a very good chance of WiFi, although there's no way to know for sure at the time of booking.

When it's three days to departure, you can Virgin Australia's Flight Status website to see if your upcoming flight will have WiFi (use the 'Flight Route' or 'Port' buttons).

Virgin Australia shows which flights are WiFi-equipped in the next few days, but it's not completely accurate.

Of course, last-minute aircraft swaps do happen, so it's best to always factor in the chance you might not be able to get online. At the time of writing, the page also isn't correctly showing Airbus A330s which have recently been updated with WiFi.

Do I need the Virgin Australia App to use WiFi?

You don’t need to have the Virgin Australia App to use the onboard WiFi. You can connect directly to Virgin Australia's WiFi network from any compatible device in exactly the same way that you’d connect to a WiFi network at the airport, for example.

If you'd like to stream Virgin Australia's wireless inflight entertainment over the same network, then you'll need the Virgin Australia Entertainment App on your phone.

How do I connect to Virgin Australia WiFi?

Here are the steps to connect to Virgin Australia's inflight WiFi service:

  • activate flight mode on your devices, then re-enable WiFi
  • connect to the 'VirginAustralia' WiFi network
  • bookmark the landing page (airborne.gogoinflight.com) so you can easily navigate back if needed
  • choose which plan you'd like (free, 1 hour or full-flight depending on your journey)
  • enter your email and payment details if required; the free WiFi service requires your seat number and surname
  • within a minute you should be connected to your aircraft's hotspot and, in turn, Virgin Australia's sky-high satellite service
Some details required for Virgin Australia's free inflight WiFi.

How does Virgin Australia WiFi work?

Virgin Australia's onboard internet works through tech provider Gogo and taps into a Gogo '2Ku band' satellite. This involves fitting two Ku-band antennas to the aircraft – one for downloads and one for uploads.

If you spot these bumps on top of your Virgin Australia plane, then it should have WiFi.

Domestic and New Zealand services use Optus' satellites for coverage, while Intelsat and SES satellite are used for all other international flights.

In contrast, Qantas uses a newer 'Ka-band' NBN Sky Muster satellite service for domestic coverage, offering fast and free WiFi for all passengers, although international WiFi isn't due until 2021.

Read more: Your complete guide to Qantas inflight WiFi

Brandon Loo

Brandon divides his time between Perth and Launceston, with ample hours spent in airport lounges in between. He recently picked up photography and tries to capture the beauty of Tasmanian landscapes, aeroplane cabins and in-flight food, to varying degrees of success.

camtripper

camtripper

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

12 Jul 2017

Total posts 2

The URL "airborne.gogoinflight.com" needed to access the inflight WIFI is not very obvious and it pays to bookmark it ahead of time.

Also note if your phone has WIFI calling active you may receive an unexpected call! It happened to me but I quickly hung up.

tartan_penguin

tartan_penguin

21 Dec 2016

Total posts 3

wifi.virginaustralia.com also works and redirects to the above.

cqtiger

cqtiger

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

23 May 2018

Total posts 11

are there any extra benefits for economy x or business class

Brandon Loo

Brandon Loo

10 Jul 2018

Total posts 76

There aren't unfortunately, not for WiFi.

UpUpAndAway

UpUpAndAway

QF

11 Jul 2014

Total posts 288

Discount for a yearly subscription would be a good option

Ceejay

Ceejay

28 Feb 2018

Total posts 13

I like that VA's price plans are by duration (per hour or the entire flight) and not by data usage.

Boeing-Tragic

Boeing-Tragic

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

24 Jan 2018

Total posts 33

Brandon, thanks for dumbing-it-down and making this tech piece so user-friendly (its really appreciated).

Miling

Miling

17 Oct 2018

Total posts 1

They also have a great chat service if you are in flight and having trouble connecting. I used it today and it was fantastic - they helped me straight away and the service was excellent.

mbon

mbon

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

23 Oct 2017

Total posts 1

I just paid $49.99 AUD on VAs BNE > DPS last week for a high speed internet option on my laptop. I beleive they charge more for laptops vs mobile phones/tables. This price seemed excessive since I had a business class ticket. On the plus side I was able to stream the Ashes and NRL final series live from the nine now website while in Australia airspace.


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