Virgin Atlantic Become First European Airline To Offer WiFi Across Entire Fleet

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Virgin Atlantic has a rather interesting routemap consisting of exclusively longhaul flights. This is only feasible because of the Virgin Group’s interesting cost structure, which also holds Virgin Australia, as well as many other lifestyle companies. Thankfully, Virgin Atlantic’s multi-natured company allows it to have a rather stable cost structure, so they aren’t cost-cutting as much of some other airlines out there are.

an airplane parked at an airportVirgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9 London Heathrow Airport

I’ve flown Virgin Atlantic between Hong Kong and London several times, and I’ve reviewed their Clubhouse at London Heathrow, which I believe is one of the best business class airport lounges in the world. The Virgin group’s brand identity gives Virgin Atlantic a very unique branding standpoint, which is visible, as their “fun” vibe is tangible on their flights every time.

One thing that Virgin Atlantic features across all of their 787s is WiFi. It’s not ideal, as it’s priced by usage instead of time, but it’s certainly affordable, and any WiFi is better than no WiFi, in my opinion. The pricing for WiFi on London Heathrow to Hong Kong flights is:

  • 40 MB for 4.99 GBP/5.99 USD
  • 150 MB for 14.99 GBP/19.99 USD

Virgin Atlantic used to only have WiFi on their 787s, though as of yesterday they’ve completed their installation of WiFi across their entire fleet, making them the first airline in Europe to have fleetwide WiFi.

Their A330s, A340s and 747s didn’t come with WiFi, so they’ve decided to switch providers while installing them, with three options provided:

  • A “messaging pass” for 2.99 GBP/3.99 USD, applicable for WhatsApp, Messenger, etc. and not applicable for sending photos and videos
  • 1 hour for 4.99 GBP/5.99 USD
  • Full flight for 14.99 GBP/19.99 USD

Virgin Atlantic decided to install WiFi provided by Gogo 2Ku, and their WiFi without data caps would obviously present itself as the better choice. This would be a reason to choose their A330s, A340s and 747s over the 787, where they won’t be switching providers.

a group of people sitting in an airplaneVirgin Atlantic’s new 787s will feature an inferior WiFi selection compared to their older aircraft

Bottom Line

As airlines continue to cut costs, it seems like WiFi priced by usage is starting to become the norm, with only select airlines still electing to price WiFi by time with no data caps. I’d be thrilled if I was scheduled on Virgin Atlantic’s A330, A340 or 747 in terms of the WiFi situation, and as someone based in a destination where Virgin Atlantic operates the 787, I’m not so happy to hear that Virgin Atlantic won’t be switching their provider on 787 aircraft.

Here’s to hoping that the WiFi works well. For now the best European airline WiFi still belongs to Lufthansa, as they offer 24-hour WiFi with no data caps at good speeds across their entire longhaul fleet.

Has anyone tried out Virgin Atlantic’s WiFi on their older fleet?

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