Qantas suspends in-flight wi-fi citing lack of demand from passengers

QantasQantas has announced that it is suspending the trial of in-flight wifi connectivity due to what it claims is a lack of customer demand.

The service was offered to passengers travelling on A380 aircraft flying to Los Angeles and London between March and November 2012. It was offered for free for an initial six week period and then switched to a paid service model.

The airline claims that over the commercial period of the trial, less than 5% of consumers used the service on average, and the fact that most A380 services operate at night meant many travellers preferred to sleep. Qantas was one of the first airlines in the world to offer wifi on long haul flights.

A spokesperson for Qantas said in a statement to Mumbrella: “We remain focused on delivering services to our customers that they value. Right now, our customers are telling us that access to the internet on the ground is more important than in the air. We are continuing to invest in upgrading wifi technology across our domestic and international lounge network. Domestically, we are looking at options to offer wifi on board.”

The in-flight wifi cost between $12.90 and $39.90. A review of the inflight wifi service on Australian Business Traveller had found the service “fine for Facebook chat and allowed reasonable downloads for emails on the iPhone and laptop.” Speed tests were said to be of 0.11MB/s download and 0.08MB/s upload.

This would, for instance, be about 1% of the speed currently being delivered by Telstra’s 4G mobile broadband service.

Emirates uses the same wifi provider as Qantas, OnAir, and has rolled out the service across all Airbus A380 flights. It charges a maximum of $25 for the service.


  1. Groucho
    3 Dec 12
    6:54 pm

  2. Another example of QF underdelivering to passengers. Anyone with half a brain would work out that demend would build slowly. And charging for it is sheer stupidity, and another example of how QF does as little as it can for pax while charging as much as it can. Much as I would hate to see Singleton and Dixon running the show they couldn’t be worse than Joyce.

  3. QF FF
    4 Dec 12
    8:43 am

  4. Why hasn’t Qantas got wi-fi up on City Flyer?

    I was on a couple of trial flights (at least two years ago) but still no wi-fi between Sydney-Melbourne.

    They can hardly use lack of demand as an excuse on domestic City Flyer routes.

  5. Anonymous
    4 Dec 12
    10:20 am

  6. I guess that’s why Emirates got to take over Qantas so cheaply.

  7. Jeremy
    4 Dec 12
    11:20 am

  8. Giantic leap backwards for yet again for Qantas.

    I used the OnAir service between Melbourne and LA last year and was fantastic. Not very fast, but was good enough to stay connected the entire flight and even managed to get a Skype call out of it.

    Alan Joyce just needs to fire most of the people at that place and start again with some smart forward looking people.

  9. Groucho
    4 Dec 12
    11:45 am

  10. @Jeremy I think if Alan Joyce fired himself some of the talent might rise to the top.

  11. Fail
    4 Dec 12
    12:23 pm

  12. “You’re the reason we fly” remember… I’m sure one lazy CCO does at least

  13. Mike
    4 Dec 12
    1:38 pm

  14. So was demand low or the price too high?
    Does anyone know how much it cost?
    I could think of nothing better to help a long-haul flight go by than Wi-Fi, but I wouldn’t pay $20 or $30 for it.

  15. Nate
    4 Dec 12
    2:22 pm

  16. Having used OnAir in the states the speeds are so terribly slow that it’s pointless. Pages continually time out and trying to stream any sort of media is pointless. Was pretty much money down the drain every time I used it.

    Also, I recently flew from LA to Sydney on the A380 with Qantas and at no point was on air wifi advertised. I’d have given it a go if I’d known about it.

  17. Good Moron
    4 Dec 12
    3:17 pm

  18. I flew the Qantas A380 to London in July but I’m afraid I wasn’t aware that there was wireless.

    I might have paid for it if I’d known.

  19. Steven
    4 Dec 12
    8:46 pm

  20. I used GoGo Air in the States from West Coast to East Coast and it was excellent. Enough for me to build a website and deploy to the staging server.

    I’d happily pay for a yearly subscription for Jetstar and Virgin interstate flights.

  21. Mr. PB
    5 Dec 12
    7:22 am

  22. @Nate @Good Moron The OnAir WiFi service was only available on “select flights”, that meant only a couple of A380s got the hardware, most likely due to costs. If WiFi access wasn’t mentioned on the flight, you probably didn’t have access to it in the first place.

    Anyways, they’re sending a message of contempt by axing the service, they’re becoming increasingly more apathetic about their customers, blah blah blah, it’s old news. Then again, clearly the dog awful tagline “you’re the reason we fly” should have been a warning sign…

  23. ben
    6 Dec 12
    12:28 am

  24. Great – the last thing we need is people tapping away on a keyboard for the whole goddamn flight

  25. T Earn Ohf
    6 Dec 12
    8:47 am

  26. In life there are rare occasions these days when I can escape from being ‘connected’.

    I actually enjoy being cut off. I use the time to read, to gather thoughts and try to chill the f**k out.

    Camping holidays in remote area’s, away from the phone and www are also sanctuary’s away from the fast lane, just like a plane journey.

    Why does everyone want to continually be in the fast lane? Have a rest!! You only live once, you will kill yourselves if you carry on as you do, glued to your smart phone, running around like headless chooks… Tsk tsk.