Inflight WiFi on Qantas A380s has been scrapped due to disappointing uptake of the service during a nine-month trial. The airline launched wireless internet trials on Airbus A380s in March, but dropped the satellite-based service last month after just 5 per cent of passengers took up the service.
But was the extremely low uptake due to high prices, a preference for sleep or is inflight WiFi not that important?
The inflight WiFi service had been available on six A380s flying between Australia and London and Los Angeles. Initially it was free to first and business-class cabins and premium economy passengers could access it on WiFi-enable laptops as well as iPhones, iPads and Blackberries.
Ultimately Qantas charged between $12.90 and $39.90 for data packages of up to 35MB. A lot to pay to tweet about the inflight food.
According to Qantas, passengers on overnight flights prefer to sleep, and that because the majority of the A380 services operate overnight, the inflight WiFi option was not as popular as the airline had hoped.
Perhaps though the vast majority of passengers just don’t want to be connected all the time. The number of passengers for whom inflight WiFi is a necessity is probably about 5 per cent.
How this will fit with the proposed partnership between Qantas and Emirates remains to be seen. It does mean that the airlines will be offering somewhat different in inflight entertainment options. Emirates offers outstanding inflight entertainment, called ice. ice stands for information, communication, entertainment.