Norwegian first LCC to launch free intercontinental wi-fi

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Norwegian is introducing free-to-use inflight wi-fi connectivity on its long-haul fleet of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner and 737 MAX aircraft flying between Europe, USA, South America and Asia. The service begins with the airline’s newest long-haul aircraft, a Dreamliner (reg: G-CKWP) featuring American author Mark Twain on the tailfin, which was delivered on December 18, 2018, fitted with the wireless CabinConnect inflight connectivity platform from Collins Aerospace. Passengers will have secure access to the internet content through CabinConnect including IFE content, moving map and voice and messaging services through their personal electronic devices. CabinConnect uses the Inmarsat Global Aviation (GX) satellite network, accessed via an antenna fitted to the aircraft fuselage.

Norwegian has a solid history with connectivity, in 2011 becoming the first carrier to offer free wi-fi on all European routes, and in 2015 the first European airline to successfully offer live television in the skies. According to the airline, more than 50% of Norwegian’s 787-9 Dreamliner fleet is expected to offer in-flight connectivity by 2020. The rollout of wi-fi on the airline’s Boeing 737 MAX aircraft will commence from mid-January 2019. In 2019, Norwegian will take delivery of five new Dreamliners and 19 B737 MAX aircraft. Norwegian currently operates 24 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners as part of its overall Dreamliner fleet of 32 aircraft.

Two packages – Basic and Premium inflight wi-fi

Norwegian economy and premium customers on the 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, social media, emails and instant messagesby using their personal mobile phones, tablets and laptops on board for the full length of the flight.

For passengers needing a little more power, the Premium option is fast enough to stream music, movies and television shows on Netflix, YouTube and Hulu among others. The Premium high-speed option will be available at an introductory price of US$14.95 / €12.95 for a three-hour package. Customers can select their preferred currency when choosing their wi-fi package.

VP of business development at Norwegian, Boris Bubresko stated, “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 personalize their journeys… Norwegian’s rollout of high-quality inflight broadband services will offer business and leisure travelers even greater value at affordable fares.”

LeAnn Ridgeway, VP of information management services at Collins Aerospace added, “We are collaborating with Norwegian to achieve their vision of optimizing their aircraft and enterprise operations to address both cabin and flight deck requirements, as well as adding new capabilities for the future.”

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Alasdair joined the team in 2015 and works across a number of titles and websites for UKi Media & Events. He has been a journalist for 10 years, covering everything from travel and technology to sport and entertainment, and brings a wealth of experience, and pedantry, to the team. Away from the office, he is a celebrated snood connoisseur, determined to cycle no matter what the weather decides to hurl from the sky, and driven by a quest to find the very finest, and more importantly the next, slice of cheesecake.

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