After three months of testing, Breeze Airways and Viasat are getting more comfortable with the performance of the inflight WiFi service on the carrier’s A220s. That also means starting to examine pricing in more detail. And the planned offerings include at least two options unique to the industry.
Two Breeze aircraft are flying with the Viasat system active today, an arrangement the company calls “Breeze Beta” service. After the summer schedule peak period the company expects to cycle the other dozen A220s through the installation process. Ultimately, the A220s should be fully online by the end of the year.
PaxEx.Aero flew on the Providence to Los Angeles inaugural flight as a guest of Breeze Airways. All opinions are our own.
Transparent messaging services
On a recent flight the payment portal suffered issues. Fortunately Viasat employees were on board and able to bring the system online. That outage, however, did not block all services.
Read more: First Breeze plane with Viasat inflight Wi-Fi now flying
The carrier expects to offer complimentary access to messaging applications even as the system becomes a paid platform. Simply associating with the wireless network enables those apps immediately.
Even while the system was “down” during the initial portion of the flight WhatsApp, Telegram, and Signal all connected without issue. Google Chat did not work, nor did direct messaging via Twitter and Instagram.
More than messaging
Once the portal issues were resolved the system was complimentary for passengers. Speaking to PaxEx.Aero on board, Breeze President Tom Doxey notes that’s just for testing right now. The company plans to begin testing different price points in the weeks ahead to see what passengers are willing to pay for the full browsing and streaming experience on board. “But in the end,” Doxey notes, “I think it will be a relatively nominal amount for what will be very high speed streaming quality product.”
Doxey also expects there will be ways for travelers to access the service without paying additional on board. Including it in the “Nicest” fare bundle is a sure thing. But Doxey also left open the possibility that “Nicer” fares would include the streaming service.
Read more: Breeze picks Viasat for WiFi in the sky
He also mentioned an option that appear to be unique on the market. “We’ve also got a credit card that we’ll be rolling out as we get to get a little bit later in the year. We need to look at how Wi-Fi interacts with those that have the credit card.” While stopping short of promising complimentary WiFi for cardholders, that seems the likely .
Everyone is on the Family Plan
With most paid inflight WiFi plans passengers are able to activate a single device at a time. Breeze plans to shift dramatically from that model.
Purchasing access involves logging in to the Breeze website and accessing the reservation currently being flown. Once a payment is made any device tied to that PNR will have access. This covers multiple passengers on a single booking and multiple devices for each traveler. Each device will still need to log in to activate the service after the initial payment is made, but Doxey highlights the benefit of this approach for families flying together.
“The kid has an iPad. You’ve got your phone. Your wife has work laptop. All of you can connect with all of those devices for one charge,” Doxey says. “That is definitely an element of what we’re going to be doing with the Wi-Fi. I think makes us unique versus what a lot of other carriers are doing.”
And with more passengers traveling with multiple devices – the Providence-Los Angeles inaugural had 166 devices connected to the network and only 117 passengers on board – the single payment option should be a win even for some solo travelers.
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