Virgin Australia launches WiFi on trans-Tasman flights

Virgin Australia launches WiFi on trans-Tasman flights

Virgin Australia is adding inflight Internet to all trans-Tasman flights as the airline steps up its fight against Qantas and Air New Zealand as the longtime foe and former beau launch their own alliance.

WiFi will be available on all Virgin flights between Australia and New Zealand from October 28, with all passengers receiving 15 minutes of free access, after which the meter will begin running at a rate of $7 for one hour or $13 for the entire flight.

Virgin Australia says that speeds will be sufficient for video streaming along with Web browsing, email and the obligatory social media updates.

A spokesperson for Virgin Australia confirmed to Australian Business Traveller that some Boeing 737 jets crossing the pond already have WiFi fitted, with more to follow in the lead-up to the official October 28 launch date.

However, the 'first 15 minutes free' deal won't be activated until October 28 – so for now, if you walk onto a Virgin Australia Boeing 737 flying to or from New Zealand and it happens to sport that tell-tale WiFi hump, you'll need to pay at least $7 to get online.

Also read: Your WiFi options for domestic Qantas, Virgin Australia flights

Velocity Points earned on dollars, not distance

Virgin is also bringing its Velocity Frequent Flyer scheme into the fray and will shift to a spend-based earning model for New Zealand flights, with the number of Velocity points earned based on how much travellers pay for their ticket rather than how many kilometres they fly.

From October 28, trans-Tasman travellers will earn a minimum of five Velocity Points per Australian dollar, with the points bonus for Velocity Platinum, Gold and Silver members boosting this as high as ten points per dollar.

There’ll also be an uplift in the number of status credits earned on flights to and from New Zealand, depending on which type of ticket you buy.

Business class fares will be split into Business Saver and Business categories, with the former earning the same 60 status credits as under the current fare structure for a Sydney-Auckland flight but the later raking in 90 status credits.

On the same route, today's full-priced flexible economy fare goes from 30 status credits to 45 status credits.

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

31 comments

  • AwaywithMike

    AwaywithMike

    1 Aug, 2018 11:11 am

    Bonus!
    I'm about to hop on VA104 WLG-SYD, via BNE - as its the only way to get J to Sydney, with the current VA/NZ JV.
    I'll report back if WiFi us onboard.
    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn

    David

    1 Aug, 2018 11:20 am

    Virgin says it'll start earlier than Oct28 but I'm not sure it will be that early :P
    No member give thanks

  • nix584

    nix584

    1 Aug, 2018 11:23 am

    The wifi installed on VA 737's now works TT. Perhaps they mean that ALL 737's going TT will have wifi by October 28?
    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn

    David

    1 Aug, 2018 11:42 am

    Yes, that's what the article says – all trans-Tasman Boeing 737s will have WiFi by Oct 28. We've checked back with Virgin and indeed some of those jets already have WiFi but there is currently to 'first 15 minutes free' option.
    No member give thanks

  • nix584

    nix584

    1 Aug, 2018 11:44 am

    Sorry I missed the bit about paying. Having it for free is a great inclusion.
    No member give thanks

  • AwaywithMike

    AwaywithMike

    1 Aug, 2018 02:06 pm

    There’s no first 15 mins free on trans Tasman atm :-/
    No member give thanks

  • AwaywithMike

    AwaywithMike

    1 Aug, 2018 02:01 pm

    I can vouch that VA104 to BNE (right now) has WiFi. It’s pay-for, but apparently from end of month it’s free for J PAX 😬
    Member who gave thanks

    Jordan Rowland

  • David Flynn

    David

    1 Aug, 2018 02:43 pm

    That's good to know – how's the speed?
    No member give thanks

  • AwaywithMike

    AwaywithMike

    1 Aug, 2018 03:53 pm

    LOL.
    1Mbps down, 24mbps up.
    (Currently mid Tasman between WLG & BNE)
    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn

    David

    3 Aug, 2018 07:18 pm

    "1Mbps down, 24mbps up" – please tell me those numbers are the wrong way around and you meant 24Mbps down and 1Mbps up, otherwise this service is not going to be much chop and certainly not for streaming.

    No member give thanks

  • Jordan rowland

    Jordan Rowland

    1 Aug, 2018 04:14 pm

    As it should be... also for Platinums too...
    No member give thanks

  • Scott Brown

    DownSouth

    1 Aug, 2018 11:19 am

    Excellent move Virgin, they have just announced changes to Tasman product. Included in all fares
    Free wifi
    An upgraded Substantial meal + drink
    23kg bag included
    Bonus points for gold and platinum members and points now reflect per $ spent.
    Great move Virgin, bundles all the onboard and loyalty wish list.
    Think Virgin will be the only airline with free wifi on Tasman.
    Member who gave thanks

    deegee93

  • RK

    Ryan K

    1 Aug, 2018 11:23 am

    Well 15 minutes worth, anyway.
    No member give thanks

  • Hamish1970

    Hamish1970

    1 Aug, 2018 12:38 pm

    A large number of people here were very quick to write off VA after split with NZ. Well done VA for taking the fight to NZ/QF. I on the other hand have always believed NZ has the most to lose in their new code share arrangement.
    Member who gave thanks

    deegee93

  • emirates777

    emirates777

    1 Aug, 2018 12:43 pm

    Well done VA. Be interesting to see what NZ replies with. Great for us customers.
    Member who gave thanks

    deegee93

  • Bevski

    Bevski

    1 Aug, 2018 02:56 pm

    Hmmmmm. Having the best offer/experience is usually the most costly. Can they actually afford all this?
    No member give thanks

  • garygoodguy

    garygoodguy

    1 Aug, 2018 03:41 pm

    This is great, but what lounge access will Gold/Platinum have flying trans-tasman post Air NZ breakup? Have any details been released?
    No member give thanks

  • Medon Loupis

    Sibelius

    1 Aug, 2018 08:39 pm

    From the email which all Velocity members received today: "We are committed to providing you with the best travel experience possible and an announcement will be made regarding the Lounge offering for Trans-Tasman routes in the coming months."
    No member give thanks

  • Jordan rowland

    Jordan Rowland

    1 Aug, 2018 04:16 pm

    If only there was a decent J product in the 737’s...
    No member give thanks

  • reeves35

    reeves35

    1 Aug, 2018 05:54 pm

    It's a 3 hour flight. Direct aisle access and lay flat beds are not really a necessity.
    No member give thanks

  • EdS

    EdS

    1 Aug, 2018 04:35 pm

    Are there VA lounges in NZ?
    No member give thanks

  • Chris McKellar

    krisdude

    2 Aug, 2018 08:28 am

    No. VA has been using NZ lounges. It will be interesting to see who they will use especially in Wellington where there is only QF international (located airside) and NZ international (located airside) regional and domestic Koru lounges.
    No member give thanks

  • vitorsyd

    vitorsyd

    1 Aug, 2018 04:37 pm

    Hi David, please pardon my ignorance, but are the prices in AU$ or NZ$? Cheers
    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn

    David

    1 Aug, 2018 04:40 pm

    AUD, as we are aimed at Aussie audience.
    No member give thanks

  • Chris McKellar

    krisdude

    2 Aug, 2018 08:29 am

    What about your NZ readers?
    No member give thanks

  • reeves35

    reeves35

    2 Aug, 2018 09:08 am

    I assume the prices VA charge for their in-flight services are all denominated in AUD so NZ readers will need to convert it in their head to get an idea of what sort of value will appear on their credit card. It's about AUD * 1.1 so it's not too hard.
    No member give thanks

  • Grace B

    Grace B

    3 Aug, 2018 06:43 pm

    A great review, bur what's the bottom line?
    No member give thanks

  • David Flynn

    David

    3 Aug, 2018 07:16 pm

    This isn't a review, just a straight news story, so no 'bottom line' per se.
    No member give thanks

  • AwaywithMike

    AwaywithMike

    15 Oct, 2018 02:36 pm

    Hey David, Have you heard rumours yet about whats happening with lounge access in Aus/NZ for VA, effective less than 2 weeks? Mike
    No member give thanks

  • Chris Chamberlin

    ChrisCh

    15 Oct, 2018 02:48 pm

    Hi Mike, David is travelling, but we don't report rumours. When Virgin Australia confirms this officially, we'll report it (and it wouldn't surprise me if this becomes known on the day the change takes place, because VA doesn't like to say what its doing before it does it).
    No member give thanks

  • AwaywithMike

    AwaywithMike

    15 Oct, 2018 02:58 pm

    Hi Chris, Gotcha, Thanks! :-p
    I'm out of WLG on VA codeshare on 25/10 and return SYD-WLG on new VA on 30/10.. I'll watch your space!
    No member give thanks

Guest

13 Dec, 2018 05:51 pm

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