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Norwegian has announced that (some) customers flying between Europe, USA, South America and Asia will be able to stay connected in the skies with the rollout of free and premium high-speed Wi-Fi connectivity on the carrier’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and 737 MAX aircraft.
The first connected Norwegian Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner (reg: G-CKWP, featuring American author Mark Twain on the tailfin), was delivered on 18 December 2018. The new aircraft has now entered service and marks the first time Norwegian passengers can experience free inflight Wi-Fi for the full duration of long-haul flights.
The planned fleetwide rollout isn’t exactly rapid though, as even by 2020 only “more than 50 per cent” of Norwegian’s 787-9 Dreamliner fleet is expected to offer in-flight connectivity. The rollout of Wi-Fi on the airline’s Boeing 737 MAX aircraft is likely to take even longer, but begins this month.
Choice of two packages – Basic and Premium inflight Wi-Fi
Norwegian economy and Premium customers on the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and 737 MAX will have the choice of two inflight Wi-Fi packages:
The Basic option is free and will allow customers to browse the web, stay-up-to-date on social media, send and receive emails and instant messages with friends, family and colleagues by using their personal mobile phones, tablets and laptops on board for the full length of the flight.
Fast enough to stream music, movies and television shows on Netflix, YouTube and Hulu among others, Norwegian will offer passengers a Premium high-speed Wi-Fi option.
Premium high-speed Wi-Fi will be available at an introductory price of $14.95 USD / €12.95 EUR for a three-hour package.
Obviously the free option sounds great and I don’t think the premium option is too outrageously priced either – as long as the speed is genuinely good.
Norwegian’s Vice President Business Development Boris Bubresko had this to say:
“We’re continuously improving the inflight customer experience and we’re delighted to be the first airline offering free Wi-Fi for the full duration of long-haul flights.
“Millions of Norwegian customers have already enjoyed free Wi-Fi over the skies of Europe and now long-haul passengers can continue to rely on free and high-speed internet connectivity that will enhance and personalise their journeys.
“From being the first European airline to launch free Wi-Fi on all short-haul flights followed by free live television, Norwegian’s rollout of high-quality inflight broadband services will offer business and leisure travellers even greater value at affordable fares.”
This is a welcome announcement, but it looks like it’s going to be a while before you can ‘expect’ to find Wifi onboard Norwegian’s long haul flights, rather than it being an occasional bonus.