Air Canada and WestJet rolling out more in-flight Wi-Fi access

May 17 2016, 12:14 am

Canada’s two largest airlines will be offering more in-flight Wi-Fi access across their flight networks beginning this year.

Air Canada announced today that it will be installing Gogo 2Ku satellite technology on its entire wide-body aircraft fleet beginning this fall with the Boeing 777 models. This will allow passengers on international flights to access the internet at broadband speeds while flying anywhere in the world.

“Air Canada is pleased to announce it will offer customers the ability to stay connected whenever and wherever they fly by extending in-flight, North American connectivity to its wide-body aircraft flying overseas using satellite technology,” said Benjamin Smith, President of Passenger Airlines at Air Canada, in a statement. “It will have widespread appeal for all travellers by allowing them to stay in touch, access the internet and enjoy additional entertainment options throughout their entire journey.”

In 2014, Canada’s largest national airline began installing Wi-Fi on its narrow body aircraft, and it now has in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity across its entire narrow body fleet in North America.

Simultaneously, WestJet is also ramping up the availability of Wi-Fi on its aircraft. It began installing Wi-Fi on its aircraft in 2015 as part of its new WestJet Connect entertainment system, and there are plans to make Wi-Fi available on most of the fleet by the end of this year.

However, as with most in-flight offerings, the Wi-Fi service is not complimentary. Air Canada’s Gogo connectivity starts at $5.00 per hour, going up to $16.00 for 24 hours, while WestJet Connect begins at $4.99 to $5.74  for 30 minutes and $7.99 to $9.19 for the duration of the entire flight.

Wi-Fi is available once the aircraft has reached an altitude of at least 3,000 metres.

The in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity options are made possible by a 2014 Transport Canada decision to allow passengers to use their portable electronic devices at any time of a flight, from takeoff to landing.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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