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Qantas and Virgin Australia Battle for Tech Supremacy

December 21, 2011 at 10:58 AM | by | ()

Lots of exciting techie news coming from Down Under! Australia seems to be the competitive hub for in-flight technology; this week Qantas dropped big news. They're doing WiFi on international flights. To America. On their Airbus A380! Yes, this is all correct, The flying kangaroo will be trialing their in-flight browsing service on flights between Australia and LA. Premium passengers flying on any one of the 6 A380s will be able to use their smart-phones, tablets or laptops to surf the web. Skype and Facetime are a no-no since the service will not have voice enabled 'pico-cells'.

Passengers in both first and business class will have to purchase the web browsing, but no prices have been announced. We have to say, however, that for a 15-hour flight we're more than happy to fork over our cards and while away the hours doing something other than playing Angry Birds. Let the WiFi wars begin!

Also this week, Virgin Australia announced they will be offering WiFi for streaming entertainment on board domestic services. Virgin will be using Lufthansa Systems technology to stream media via wireless to passenger personal devices, such as iPads and laptops. As of now, the option to surf the web while at cruising altitude is not included, but we think this is pretty cool and should provide us hours of entertainment (plus WiFi in the future).

The new technology will be found on the carrier's Boeing 737-800 aircraft and will roll out to the majority of the Boeing fleet within the year. No doubt this will be a pay-per-use service and for the right price, it sounds well worth it.

[Photo: chrismc38 for Flickr]

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