Inflight wifi connectivity is now live on the Air France A320 family of aircraft. The offering, first confirmed last September, activated for passengers on 31 January. The underlying technology is delivered by Global Eagle with Orange acting as the integrator and ISP for the connection.
Air France offers two pricing plans on its single-aisle aircraft. The messaging plan is complimentary for all passengers and covers apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage and WeChat. A Surf Pass is also available for basic web browsing on board. The long-haul aircraft (except the 787s) also include a streaming video pass. Air France is not offering that on the regional fleet.
Alexis Steinman, Global Eagle’s Senior VP Aviation, suggests that growing in to that streaming option is supported by the system and likely to happen eventually. “Air France decides which services to offer passengers. The Orange + Global Eagle solution installed on narrow body aircraft is proven to support streaming and Air France is likely to make streaming available on narrow body aircraft in the future.”
The service launches on seven aircraft this week, coming up one short of the eight expected by the end of 2018 when the service was announced. An additional 60 aircraft installations are expected in 2019 with the balance of the fleet fitted the following year.