update Virgin Australia is reportedly testing an in-flight Wi-Fi media streaming service for its passengers.
Virgin Australia chief, John Borghetti
(Credit: Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)
Virgin Australia spokesperson Emma Copeman has revealed to Australian Business Traveller that the airline is busy testing a range of new in-flight entertainment services, one of which being Wi-Fi internet.
Virgin Australia later confirmed to ZDNet Australia that the Wi-Fi service currently in the testing phase won't be used for internet access, rather it will be used for the streaming of in-flight entertainment, music and media.
However, the airline said that it was just at the testing stage, with no official launch date or pricing revealed.
Virgin Australia's testing of Wi-Fi streaming gear comes as US carrier United Airlines rolls out similar technology to avoid refitting its entire fleet with costly, new in-flight entertainment players. Passengers will be able to stream movies, TV shows and music right to their Wi-Fi-enabled tablet, laptop or phone with the United Wi-Fi service.
Virgin Australia still has no plans to offer in-flight internet according to a statement, despite the fact that its new 737-800 aircraft were recently spotted sporting global SATCOM gear capable of providing in-flight internet services.
When asked about the gear, Virgin told ZDNet Australia that the Rockwell Collins-made SAT-2200 gear is for flight deck navigation use only.
"SAT-2200 is designed to maintain communications without pilot intervention during all flight phases. Handover between satellites and spot beams is accomplished automatically," Virgin Australia said in a statement.
Virgin Australia boss John Borghetti told ZDNet Australia at a recent Australian-American Chamber of Commerce meeting that customers could expect to see exciting new tech come online for the carrier shortly in its ongoing war with airline giant Qantas.
Updated at 4:26pm, 2 September 2011: added that Virgin Australia is testing the Wi-Fi service for media streaming, rather than internet access.