Another Neeleman Airline Cracks The Free WiFi Conundrum

Azul has become the second Neeleman-founded airline to bring its customers fast and free WiFi. The airline launched ‘Azul WiFi’ earlier this month, bringing free inflight connectivity to passengers on at least 17 of its domestic aircraft. With this, the airline is following in the footsteps of Neeleman’s US airline JetBlue, which is well known for its fast and free Fly-Fi connectivity offering.

Azul A320 neo
Azul is offering free WiFi for domestic passengers. Photo: Azul

Free WiFi for more passengers

As more airlines equip more of their fleets with inflight connectivity capabilities, the barrier to giving everyone this service for free remains. Delta Air Lines has been chasing a solution for free IFC for years, a quest that has seen it break its exclusivity with Gogo in a bid to find a more suitable supplier.

Delta pitched up with Viasat as a new provider, in the hope that this high-speed Ka-band provider would be capable of meeting its free WiFi needs. Viasat is already proven to be capable of delivering connectivity with enough capacity to make it free, as it has been providing JetBlue’s fast and free FlyFi since 2013.

Now, another Neeleman-founded airline is leveraging the power of Viasat’s high-speed satellite service to give its customers unrivaled inflight connectivity free of charge. Azul is currently offering free WiFi on 17 of its domestic aircraft, with plans to roll this out to more than 80 additional aircraft.

Azul Embraer
Azul has WiFi on some of its Airbus and its two E2 jets. Photo: Azul

First domestic Brazilian airline to offer free WiFi

With this move, Azul becomes the first airline offering free WiFi to its domestic customers in Brazil. Currently, the service is equipped on 15 of the airline’s A320neo and A321neos, as well as two Embraer E195-E2s, according to PaxEx.Aero. the airline has an agreement in place to equip more than 100 aircraft in total with Viasat WiFi.

Azul’s free WiFi will offer general web browsing capabilities, as well as social media and messaging. It is not currently allowing streaming, although it has the capabilities to do so in future. Despite this, is remains the only Brazilian domestic airline to offer WiFi for free.

Marco Barbosa, Azul’s Director of Customer Experience, commented on the offer, saying,

“We intend to make our customers’ onboard experience even more complete. For years, people needed to disconnect from the world while flying, but now, for those who are Blue Customers, Airplane Mode will be completely different and will revolutionize the way of flying, bringing together various in-flight entertainment options, including our established live TV.”

Embraer new livery
The airline is keen to differentiate itself from the competition. Photo: Embraer

Following in the footsteps of JetBlue is no big surprise from Azul. The airline has frequently tried to differentiate itself from the competition with a superior product and service, just like its North American neighbor. But what of Neeleman’s newest startup Breeze?

At present, none of the Breeze fleet is WiFi equipped, but the airline has been noted to be in talks with multiple IFC providers. Perhaps, in the not-too-distant future, we’ll see free WiFi for Breeze customers too.

 

This article is brought to you by Simple Flying Connectivity, a category on Simple Flying dedicated to inflight connectivity. Click here to read all of our inflight connectivity content.

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