Effective immediately, free WiFi is available to first-class passengers on Cathay Pacific. The complimentary service will be offered on the airline’s Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. This makes sense for the premium carrier’s highest level of service. Normally, this ‘flight pass’ would cost up to US$20 on a flight of more than six hours. For flights less than six hours, the cost is US$13. This will enable passengers to stay connected on their laptops, tablets and smartphones throughout the duration of their journey.
Not all flights, not all aircraft
Free WiFi in first-class is limited to passengers traveling on Cathay’s Boeing 777-300ERs. Why? This is because the airline’s new Airbus A350 fleet does not actually have a first-class cabin. In fact, not all of the 777s have first-class cabins either. According to Get Connected, of the 31 four-class 777-300ER, just 20 have so far been WiFi equipped.
When it comes to cost for everyone outside of first-class, Cathay Pacific offers fairly reasonable pricing for its WiFi. Service starts at $10 for an hour, $13 for up to six hours and $20 for the length of the flight. Considering services like Hong Kong to New York are roughly 16 hours long, this would represent some fantastic value.
As far as availability is concerned, this is what Cathay Pacific says:
“WiFi is enabled on all of our Airbus A350 aircraft, and we are progressively rolling out WiFi on our Boeing 777 and Airbus A330 aircraft.”
Free WiFi for everyone?
The free first-class WiFi on the Cathay’s Boeing 777s will be provided by inflight internet service provider Gogo. However, other airlines like Delta are working out the technical challenges with Gogo to provide inflight WiFi to all passengers in all classes.
While Delta’s CEO says that Gogo has made improvements on reliability, it still doesn’t work as intended under heavy usage- something Delta is working on as it intends to offer free WiFi across all cabins/classes. This is what Delta’s CEO, Ed Bastian had to say:
“We are working hard with Gogo on the technical features…It is really just a question of technical. It is not economics. I am nervous that if we turned it on, it’s going to cause system outages.”
US airline JetBlue is one of the few airlines offering free WiFi for all of its passengers. This service is provided by Viasat. It’s been two years since Popular Mechanics wrote an article comparing Gogo and Jetblue’s Fly-Fi, but they seemed to think the latter was a much better experience.
It’s a great move by one of the highest-rated airlines in the world for passenger service. We’re looking forward to seeing other airlines make similar moves to offer WiFi for free or at lower costs.
Have you tried out the WiFi on Cathay Pacific yet? Let us know about the speed and quality of the connection by leaving a comment!