A lot of hype has been going on here about Cathay Pacific’s A350s. This has included some (hopefully) premature designs, which probably didn’t make the cut, as Cathay Pacific had to push their flights back by a month (hopefully they don’t have to do that again, as I’m booked on an A350 upfront in late June).
Cathay Pacific (Rumoured) Airbus A350-900 Business Class
Well, Cathay Pacific has further improved A350 anticipation with WiFi plans, to start with the first A350 delivered.
According to AusBT:
Cathay Pacific will price the inflight Internet on its Airbus A350 fleet at US$20 for the length of the flight or US$10 per hour when the next-generation jetliner takes to the skies in early June.
Vouchers will also be issued to selected travellers – a group expected to include top-tier members of the Marco Polo Club frequent flyer scheme – who’ll have the option to redeem their voucher rather than enter their credit card details on the sign-up portal.
The pricing, contained in a technical bulletin issued to Cathay Pacific staff this week and seen by Australian Business Traveller, will prove compelling for confirmed long-haul A350 routes such as London’s Gatwick Airport and Auckland, along with other likely starters such as Barcelona, Dusseldorf, Milan and Zurich.
Manila and Taipei won’t do well with the service, especially the Taipei leg, which flies over China.
The first flight to London Gatwick will fare a little better, followed by Barcelona, Dusseldorf, Milan and Zurich. Unfortunately, all of them fly over China, which bans inflight internet, so there’s only 5-8 hours of usable WiFi time. That’s still worth buying a full pass over, but the real bet will be on the flight to Auckland.
The pricing will be at US$10 per hour, which isn’t a great deal, and US$20 per flight, which can range from terrible (Hong Kong-Taipei) to awesome (Hong Kong-London Gatwick, or soon maybe even Hong Kong-New York). I’m EXTREMELY happy that it’s based on time rather than usage, because prices based on usage (photo uploading, etc.) would put me over the roof within five minutes.
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350-900 (courtesy Cathay Pacific)
Needless to say I’m excited, and I think this will be a perfect addition to longhaul flyers. If only I’d have been on the A350 on a longer flight, as US$10 for twenty minutes of WiFi is a terrible deal, in my opinion.