More passengers can spend more flight time online for free thanks to the latest inflight connectivity update from Norwegian Airlines. The carrier announced today that all of its connected aircraft now offer the service gate-to-gate rather than only above 10,000 feet.
We know how important it is for our passengers to have internet access. Until recently, flights were hour-long black holes when it comes to internet coverage. Now, Norwegian makes it possible to be online from the moment you board the aircraft until you step outside again. We launched free Wi-Fi on board in 2011 and since millions of passengers have been surfing the internet on board, so are looking very much forward to offering the new gate-to-gate experience to our passengers.– Chief Customer and Digital Officer at Norwegian, Kurt Simonsen
Norwegian launched its inflight wifi service in 2011, giving all passengers free connectivity powered by the Global Eagle network on flights within Europe. The carrier expanded the offering in early 2019 as installations of the Collins Aerospace CabinConnect kit, backed by Inmarsat‘s GX Aviation satellites began on the 787 Dreamliner fleet. With that expansion Norwegian also shifted to a freemium pricing model, keeping the free, low-speed tier available while adding a higher priced, higher performing choice as well. Both of these systems are now available gate-to-gate under the new program.
Early reviews of the 787 connectivity are positive. Multiple users interviewed by PaxEx.Aero indicated that the free tier service was “pretty solid” and “super reliable” for passengers. One added, “The Basic/Free version is obviously not speedy, but I can do basically everything I would normally do. It’s an awesome benefit that it’s free.”
The expanded connectivity access is great news for passengers but also for the service providers involved. Global Eagle and Inmarsat should see increased usage of their systems driving increased revenue. That it is free for travelers also helps drive the revenue as take rates are significantly higher than with paid connectivity plans.
Norwegian expects half its 787-9 fleet to be fitted with the connectivity by the end of the year.