Does British Airways have in-flight wi-fi?

Someone asked me last week if the new A380 and B787 deliveries to BA would finally deliver a decent wi-fi experience.  Does British Airways finally have in-flight wi-fi?  The answer is No, unfortunately.

As Frank van der Post, BA’s ‘customer experience’ boss said in The Daily Telegraph recently:

Perhaps most controversially the [new A380 and B787] planes will not offer Wi-Fi, which is widely available on Virgin, Emirates and Qatar Airways. “We might get it later when the technology improves,” van der Post says.

When I flew to New York in Lufthansa First Class in February, one of the most interesting things was the ability to use the internet onboard.  I even managed to write part of my review of the flight!  The price isn’t the cheapest (€11 per hour) but Lufthansa had sent me a free one-hour voucher code as a special offer some months previously.  It worked surprisingly well.

Inflight internet

The only British Airways service that currently offers in-flight wi-fi is the service from London City Airport to New York JFK.  This offers the ‘OnAir’ system, which allows you to use your existing mobile phone contract for browsing.  Pricing is based on whatever your mobile network has agreed with OnAir.  Full details of this service are here.

This post from the US blog The Points Guy provides an excellent overview of what you can expect to find on other major airlines, and is a good reference piece.

What he doesn’t mention, though, is that one European airline is offering free wi-fi!  Norwegian, the low-cost Scandinavian carrier, now has wi-fi on the majority of its flights, and even shows you when booking if your flight will have the service.

Hong Kong Airlines also offers free wi-fi on a number of its routes, but that is a carrier you are less likely to be using.  Are there any other free wi-fi airlines out there? 

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Comments

  1. The Norwegian wifi is very good too. Especially as it is free. Bagged a bargain fare to Dubrovnik earlier in the year to try out their new Gatwick operation. I was really impressed.. looking at some of their bargain Canary Island fares for the winter now too…

    • timezonehopper says:

      My experience with Norwegian’s free wifi has been quite the opposite – slow and unusable on a couple of recent ARN-MAN’s.

  2. Beaulieu says:

    I wouldn’t say OnAir was in flight wi-fi, all it does is broadcast a GSM signal so you’re at the behest of your mobile phone network operator for pricing. Having said that, I’ve been getting a relatively good rate at £5 per 25MB per day (£3/MB after) from Vodafone on their Data Traveller world scheme

  3. Sir Stamford says:

    The article by The Points Guy is out of date on Hong Kong Airlines.

    “Hong Kong Airlines -This Asian airline offers free WiFi on all A330-200 aircraft it operates on its Hong Kong – London route with OnAir.”

    Hong Kong Airlines ceased flying to London in September 2012, although its A330-200 aircrafts have been deployed to other Asian routes.

    I have used the free wi-fi service on board Turkish Airlines’ 77W. It works albeit with a very slow speed.

    Sir Stamford

    • The Hong Kong Airlines WiFi was great, I had a huge stash of the codes for free-wifi and so had one flight where I put my phone on the window ledge and used the WiFi and GPS to see follow the plane real time on the ground, Skype video calling was great fun as was reading all the latest Head for Points articles of course.

      There were hardly ever any pax on board and so no one else was using bandwidth and as part of the package the company bought from OnAir was a certain amount of data usage per month and we never got anywhere near that.

      The only time there was any decent amount of use of it was when we took the Man City team to Madrid for the Champions League game in Sept 2012, (the only time a flight actually paid for itself I think!) and they were tweeting, FBing and playing so much, OnAir actually called to ask if there was anything wrong with the system!

      Those were the days eh!

  4. Flashware says:

    Have also used onboard TK’s 77W – wasn’t overly quick, but did the job.