Cathay Pacific Group’s entire wide-body fleet of aircraft will be outfitted with in-flight wifi starting next year, meaning travellers on all Cathay Pacific and some Cathay Dragon flights will be able to connect while flying within a few years’ time.
The rollout is expected to begin in mid-2018, with completion currently slated for 2020. Cathay Pacific’s newest aircraft, the A350, already offers in-flight connectivity and the introduction of wifi to its Boeing 777s and Airbus A330s is supposedly being done in response to growing demand from customers to be able to connect to the internet during flights.
Cathay Pacific only operates those three aircraft, while regional subsidiary Cathay Dragon flies the A330 along with A321s and A320s.
According to Paul Loo, the airline’s chief customer and commercial officer, “we have been listening to our customers who have told us that staying connected is important to them”.
“We envisage that by 2020, all of our wide-body aircraft will have in-flight connectivity capabilities. This will open up a wealth of opportunities for us to provide more innovative experiences for our customers,” Loo added.
The airline will be using Gogo’s 2Ku satellite-based broadband systems, making Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon among the first carriers in Asia to use the company’s technology. This system will allow for basic browsing, checking emails, accessing social media and shopping online, but will be unlikely to support music or video streaming – something fellow Oneworld alliance carrier Qantas has made a key selling point of its upcoming wifi offering.
Cathay Pacific’s current wifi pricing structure comes in three price brackets depending on duration of use and the overall flight time, though data limits are not specified for each tier. Certain features, such as accessing cathaypacific.com, the airline’s duty-free catalogue and destination information, are available for free.
Current pricing is as follows:
- US$9.95 – one hour continuous use on all flights
- US$12.95 – full duration on flights of six hours or less
- US$19.95 – full duration flights of six hours or more
Generally speaking, Cathay’s wifi prices are quite competitive when compared with the competition in Asia-Pacific, particularly for travellers on flights that last less than six hours that purchase wifi for the duration of the flight.
A detailed run-down of how Asia-Pacific airlines’ in-flight wifi offerings compare can be read below.
According to Inmarsat’s annual Inflight Connectivity Survey, which was released in July, 60 per cent of travellers polled believe in-flight connectivity is a necessity not a luxury.