Qantas 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.