Virgin Atlantic has beaten its competitors to the post by becoming the first European airline to offer Wi-Fi on all of its planes. Passengers can now email and browse the internet on all flights across the entire Virgin Atlantic network, to destinations including the US, Caribbean, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Virgin is ahead of its competitors by over a year, offering WiFi from two providers to enable everyone to stay connected at 35,000 feet. Passengers flying on the 787 Dreamliner will be able to connect using Panasonic technology, with the option of two plans: WiFi lite and WiFi max. WiFi lite will cost £4.99 and offer 40MB of data, while WiFi max will cost £14.99 and include 150MB of data.
Customers travelling on the A330s, 747s, A340-600s will use WiFi powered by Gogo technology, which costs £2.99 for a messaging-only pass, £4.99 for one hour of internet access or £14.99 for internet access throughout the entire duration of the flight.
WiFi is available above an altitude of 10,000 feet, which means passengers can get connected shortly after take-off and stay online until shortly before landing. The airline says 42% of customers choose the £14.99 WiFi package which lasts the entire flight, and the most popular routes for WiFi use are London Heathrow to New York (JFK), San Francisco and Atlanta.
To celebrate becoming the first European airline to offer WiFi on all flights, Virgin Atlantic is planning a series of summer events from the sky, which people can follow with the hashtag #LiveFromVirgin.
Virgin Atlantic and partner Delta Air Lines are the only fully connected transatlantic joint venture – keeping business and leisure travellers connected on up to 39 transatlantic flights per day.
Mark Anderson, Executive Vice President, Customer at Virgin Atlantic, said:
“Innovation has always been in our blood and we’ve worked closely with WiFi providers to develop the fastest, most reliable connection across the Atlantic, and are the first carrier to offer WiFi between the UK and the Caribbean, China and Africa.”
“And of course we wouldn’t be Virgin Atlantic if we weren’t going to signify this moment with something special, so we’ve planned a summer of spectacular #LiveFromVirgin events for our customers. Keep an eye out on our social channels for your chance to get involved.”
It has always been a challenge for airlines to find reliable connections on long-haul flights, since they cover vast expanses of ocean like the Atlantic which has limited signal. Instead of coming from the ground, the signal has to be transmitted from satellites, which poses difficulties for airlines offering long-haul routes. Virgin Atlantic is clearly leading the pack when it comes to WiFi technology, recognising that customers wish to be able to surf the internet wherever they go.