Low-cost airline Norwegian is striving to win new customers with their latest initiative, introducing gate-to-gate WiFI.
Norwegian Air Shuttle has today, Friday 21st June, launched its innovative “gate-to-gate” WiFi service. This new service allows Norwegian passengers access to the internet as soon as they board the aircraft.
Customers travelling on Norwegian’s vast network of flights can now get online for the entire duration of the flight. Connectivity is provided from push-back to arriving at the gate of their destination, according to a Norwegian press statement.
Before today, Norwegian passengers had to wait until the aircraft had climbed to an altitude of 10,000ft (3,048m) before the aircraft WiFi was turned on.
Now with “gate-to-gate” WiFi, passengers can connect to the WiFi as soon as they are in their seats and remain connected until they disembark the plane. Chief Customer and Digital Officer at Norwegian, Kurt Simonsen commented,
“We know how important it is for our passengers to have internet access. Until recently, flights were hour-long black holes when it comes to internet coverage. Now, Norwegian makes it possible to be online from the moment you board the aircraft until you step outside again. We launched free Wi-Fi on board in 2011 and since millions of passengers have been surfing the internet on board, so are looking very much forward to offering the new gate-to-gate experience to our passengers.”
Demand for in-flight WiFi is driving airline loyalty among passengers
Norwegian Air might be onto something by offering gate-to-gate WiFi. Studies have shown that in-flight WiFi is a key element of getting passengers to remain loyal to their brand.
Having high-speed internet available through WiFi is a big improvement for PaxEx. It allows customers not only to be able to access social media and emails, but also to stream movies and watch live TV.
As for business travellers, high-speed WiFi is a must these days, as they can stay connected and interactive with the office while thousands of feet in the air.
Norwegian’s new internet offering is available for both short and long-haul flights on all WiFi-enabled aircraft.
Earlier in 2019, Norwegian became the first low-cost airlines to start offering a free WiFi service on all international routes. It is currently fitting out its 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft to fulfil this commitment.
Customers have a two-speed internet option
Of course, a budget airline offering free WiFi in a marketplace where other carriers are charging sounds almost too good to be true. And so it is, as Norwegian still want to earn revenue for this service.
Passengers have two options for WiFi connectivity. A no-frills, low-speed free Wi-Fi, or a super high bandwidth premium option that is fast enough to stream television shows and movies.
Norwegian is most well known for it’s cheap transatlantic flights, but it also operates many intra-European routes too. For these, like Ryanair, it mainly uses the Boeing 737. Once fully upgraded, passengers on all of Norwegians short-haul European routes will be able to stream movies and live television too.
Is Norwegian heading for bankruptcy or a possible takeover?
Late last year pundits could be heard using the “Game of Thrones” phrase “Winter is Coming” when speculating as to whether or not Norwegian Air could survive faced with mounting debts and fierce competition.
Well, here we are in June and the low-cost carrier is still flying high, despite struggling with the grounding of the 737 MAX.
Now actively seeking compensation from Boeing for the grounding of the MAX, it still does not eradicate the airline’s financial problems. While gate-to-gate WiFi sounds good, it will not be enough to save Norwegian unless they get a large influx of cash or can merge with another airline.
Last month saw a glimmer of hope, as rumours spread that there could be an investor readying a takeover of the company. According to Reuters, a Spanish media outlet had indicated something was afoot. As we know, IAG said they were done making bids for the airline when they sold their shares earlier this year, but perhaps they’ve reconsidered?
Do you think be British Airways parent company IAG could be interested again, or is another investor considering the airline? Let us know in the comments!