Qantas to trial in-flight Wi-Fi, tablets

Australian airline giant Qantas is set to offer Wi-Fi media streaming to a limited number of its passengers next month.


(Qantas B737-800 VH-VXU image by
Andy Mitchell, CC BY-SA 2.0)

Qantas confirmed a report by Australian Business Traveller that the trial would commence in late October.

"We will commence a six-week trial of in-flight streaming technology on a single Boeing 767 aircraft operating on Qantas' domestic network," Qantas said in a statement. Qantas' Boeing 767-300s currently fly between Australian capital cities and international destinations including New Zealand, Hawaii and New Caledonia.

The trial is set to have multiple phases, according to the airline. Phase one will see Qantas provide its passengers with a tablet for streaming movie, music and television content. Later phases will see passengers bring their own devices, including laptops, smartphones and tablets.

It is currently unclear which tablets will be used to stream Qantas' content. However, the airline's low-cost Jetstar subsidiary has had long-standing plans to deploy in-flight iPads across its fleet — a trial that had been reportedly delayed due to iPad 2 procurement issues.

Qantas' trial announcement comes weeks after a similar announcement by the Red Kangaroo's nemesis, Virgin Australia.

Virgin Australia said it would also test streaming media for passengers, but refused to elaborate on official pricing or release dates.

US carrier United Airlines is also trialling a Wi-Fi streaming trial in a bid to dodge a multimillion-dollar refit of its fleet's in-flight entertainment units.


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