Qantas is dropping its plans to offer in-flight WiFi across its Airbus A380 service, citing apathy from its passengers.
This weekend, the Australian airline ended in-flight internet on selected A380 routes, including flights to Los Angeles and London. The service, tested for nine months, allowed passengers to access internet using its own devices.
In a statement issued to the media Monday, Qantas advised that the average take-up during the trial was less than 5 percent. A company spokeswoman explained: "Whilst customers who used the Wi-Fi service told us that they valued the option to connect in flight, overall the trial has demonstrated a lower than expected take-up of the service, particularly on overnight flights where sleep was their priority."
Most of the routes covered by the carrier's A380 fleet are long-haul flying over vast distances and oceans, increasing the costs of offering a high-quality connection.
At the beginning of the trial the airline offered the service for free to first and business class passengers, but passengers were later charged between $12.90 to $39, depending on the size of the data package.
According to a list published by Business Traveller in September 2012, a total of 27 carriers offer in-flight connectivity, including Qantas's recent partner Emirates. Qantas Airways announced in September 2012 that it was teaming up with Emirates of Dubai after ending a long-term partnership with British Airways.
Emirates offers in-flight WiFi on its A380 planes for prices ranging from $7.50 to $25.00 depending on the data package.
According to the list all of the 27 companies charge for the service except for Norwegian Air. Turkish Airlines and SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) are temporarily offering the service free of charge.