Simple Flying has learned that Norwegian will become the first low-cost carrier to introduce wifi onboard intercontinental flights. The new service, which is provided by satellite, will be rolled out to all of Norwegians B737 MAX and B787-9 aircraft. This will build upon the service currently offered on short-haul routes. While a premium internet service will be available at a cost, every passenger will be able to access free basic wifi for the duration of their flights. The news comes as rivals British Airways are rolling out wifi across their long and short haul fleets. 50% of the B787-9 fleet will have Wi-Fi by the end of 2020.
Despite taking time to roll out across the entire fleet, the Wi-Fi service is already available. In mid-December, G-CKWP was delivered to Norwegian. The aircraft, delivered on December 18th 2018, features the American Author Mark Twain on the tail. The B787-9 also features a special antenna fitted to the fuselage. This antenna communicates with the Inmarsat Global Aviation (GX) satellite network which in turn offers passenger wi-fi.
The Importance Of Wi-Fi
According to Inmarsat, Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly important to retain customers. Their 2018 survey showed that 67% of passengers would be likely to rebook with an airline if wifi were available on the flight. Additionally, this is a figure that rises to 83% when just considering business passengers. In fact, staying connected is so important to some, that 53% of respondents said they would give up access to alcoholic drinks on a flight to use Wi-Fi. However, it is just important to passengers that the internet is good quality. 54% of passengers would rather have no internet than poor internet.
What Is Norwegian Offering?
Norwegian Airlines will offer two different packages for those who want to access the internet onboard. The first is their Basic service. Available to all passengers for the duration of their flight. This package is free. This will be perfect for passengers who want to post an inflight selfie, text their buddies, or publish an article on Simple Flying.
Norwegian will also offer a premium internet package. Priced at $14.95 USD or €12.95 EUR for three hours, the package will offer a lot more than the basic service. Specifically, Norwegian states that users of this service will be able to watch Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu. These are usually services which are unavailable on some in-flight internet services due to their large bandwidth.
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“Even Greater Value”
According to the Vice President of Business Development, Boris Bubresko, the new offering will offer passengers even greater value. He told the media “We’re continuously improving the inflight customer experience and we’re delighted to be the first airline offering free Wi-Fi for the full duration of long-haul flights.“ Before going on to add: “From being the first European airline to launch free Wi-Fi on all short-haul flights followed by free live television, Norwegian’s rollout of high-quality inflight broadband services will offer business and leisure travellers even greater value at affordable fares.”
Is onboard access to the internet important to you? Let us know in the comments down below!