Qantas scraps inflight wi-fi plans

Qantas has scrapped its plans to provide wireless internet access on flights, citing a lack of interest from customers during a trial.

The trial, announced by chief executive Alan Joyce in December last year, ran for nine months and allowed passengers to access the internet on six of the airline's A380 superjumbos on long-haul flights to London and across the Pacific to Los Angeles.

A spokesman said that customer take-up of the wi-fi service on flights during the trial, which ended last month, was extremely low. He also said providing the service was expensive.

"Naturally, the costs associated with offering a reliable internet connection in-flight are significantly higher than on the ground, particularly when you are flying over vast expanses of ocean and can't connect to ground towers," he said.

Qantas charged between $12.90 and $39.90 for its data packages on board. The average take up of the service was less than five per cent, according to the airline.

The spokesman also said that, as most of the airline's A380 services operated at night, passengers preferred sleeping to surfing the web.

The wi-fi system, provided by IT services company OnAir, ran on Inmarsat's "SwiftBroadband" technology, which uses satellite links from the aircraft to beam the data back to ground networks.

Emirates has introduced the same technology on its A380 superjumbos and currently provides wireless internet on board.

Virgin Australia plans to have its in-flight entertainment on Samsung Galaxy tablet computers provided through an onboard wireless streaming service, but this would not include internet access.

This story Qantas scraps inflight wi-fi plans first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.