Free in-flight Netflix takes to Australian skies
James R | On 16, Feb 2017
Australian airline Qantas will offer its passengers free in-flight Netflix later this year.
Qantas has signed a deal with Foxtel, Netflix and Spotify that will mean customers on Wi-Fi enabled domestic flights will be able to watch their favourite shows, avoid missing out on live sport and listen to almost any song they like, without having to pay.
From late February this year, gradually rolling out across aircraft, flights will offer fast, free internet that will open up a huge range of options for customers inflight. The most exciting option, though, is binge-watching through your latest box set addiction.
“We know that email, online shopping and general web browsing will be popular uses when we switch on Wi-Fi, but what a lot of people relish about flying is being able to catch up on their favourite TV shows or watch movies they didn’t get to see at the cinema,” says Qantas Group Executive of Brand, Marketing and Corporate Affairs, Olivia Wirth.
“Foxtel and Netflix both have huge catalogues that are expanding all the time, so there will be no shortage of entertainment on board.
“The usage data from the collection of albums we already have on our aircraft shows that music is a great way for passengers to relax as they watch the world fly by. Spotify will open this up so you can listen to virtually any song you like,” she adds.
All three streaming giants will offer free access to Qantas customers on and off the aircraft for between three days and one month after their Qantas flight. Netflix will offer new customers access to the entire Netflix service as part of a 30-day free trial. Existing Netflix members only need to log in to continue watching at no extra charge. Spotify will similarly offer a 30 day free trial of its Premium music service, which has no ads, shuffle play and unlimited skips.
To access to the services, customers will have to log on to the Qantas inflight Wi-Fi via their own devices, where they will be greeted by a landing page with a range of options. As well as links to access Netflix, Spotify and Foxtel, this page will feature real-time flight data; hotel, restaurant and transport options, the latest weather, and personalised information linked to their itinerary and Frequent Flyer account.
The service will be powered by faster connection speeds – which enable streaming – using the nbn Sky Muster satellite service. The technology uses idle data capacity, with the signal reaching the aircraft as it flies through the satellite’s 101 spot beams across Australia.
In November 2016, Qantas installed ViaSat satellite-receiving equipment on its first 737 to be Wi-Fi enabled. Hardware and software testing is underway on this aircraft, ahead of the service being switched on for customers.
Qantas is also currently in talks with suppliers to extend Wi-Fi services onto its international and regional (QantasLink) fleets.