Yup, even in economy.
When Boeing proudly announced, then unceremoniously dropped its in flight WiFi it seemed the world had taken something of a backwards step. Not for long though…
Qantas, the well known letter ‘u’ hating airline, has announced it will equip every seat of its new Airbus A380s – regardless of class – with laptop power sockets and cover each plane with onboard WiFi from August 2008. Retrofitted 747-400s will also go into service from February next year.
Even cooler, Qantas says the new A380s will provide web and email access through the screens in their seat-back inflight entertainment systems so even if you don’t have a laptop with you surfing is still available. Still want more? USB and Ethernet ports will also be fitted into all seats allowing wired Internet access and charging of portable devices (no more need for 153 hour battery life).
The greatest fear: Pricing has yet to be officially announced but APCMag has managed to get quotes from ONAIR (the company behind the tech) CEO George Cooper saying, “seatback instant messaging at a price of $5 for unlimited use throughout the flight. Web email will cost $8 per flight, with attachments extra, and there will be a measure of Internet access.”
Less encouraging however is that the connection speed could be as low as 432Kbps – divided between the whole plane, but since this is unconfirmed let’s not panic yet.
So ultimately, my biggest concern is only this: aren’t we told mobile phones signals and mp3 players alone are bad for planes…?!