LONDON — Today, SAS has announced that passengers using the carrier’s short and medium haul routes will now have access to a stable, fast and strong Wi-Fi service, which will enable them to stream and work inflight without the conventional problems of onboard Wi-Fi, such as slow speed and connectivity issues.
Scandinavian Airlines Systems announces their unveiling of high-speed Wi-Fi for their customers. Their release states that they are the first carrier in the Nordic market to offer such a service of high-speed WiFi.#PaxEx #AvGeek pic.twitter.com/IM9AX9K5Ex
— James Field (@AvGeekJames) May 16, 2018
The Wi-Fi will be in effect across the Scandinavian and European network that SAS has in their operations: “We have made a big investment that will ensure that our customers enjoy the best in-flight experience. Fast and stable WiFi connection is the service passengers ask for today. Regardless if you want to watch a movie, stay connected with friends and family or work onboard, you require a reliable highspeed connection,” says Rickard Gustafson, President, and CEO of SAS.
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Then Gustafson added that this will strengthen SAS’ competitiveness even further and maintain its strong position in the Scandinavian market. Also, the investment guarantees the carrier’s commitment to passengers by making their lives easier.
The service states that passengers will be able to start streaming and use the online facilities as soon as the aircraft is airborne, although no altitude restriction has been stated yet. The SAS Wi-Fi has already been installed in 28 of the airline’s fleet and by September 2018, SAS believes up to 40 aircraft will have the Wi-Fi. The carrier has set a target for the vast majority of aircraft in the fleet to have the Wi-Fi installed by 1Q20.
READ MORE: SAS Signs Firm Order for 35 Airbus A320neo
The Wi-Fi will be provided by satellite communication supplier Viasat Inc, who is based in California, supplying internet services to private and public organizations as well as to the military and airlines, including US government aircraft and to carriers such as Qantas and Jetblue. The Viasat Ka-Sat Satellite is the machinery that will operate SAS Wi-Fi. This satellite orbits the earth at around 28,000 kilometers per hour and has up to 82 signal masts around Europe, offering as much connectivity as feasibly possible at this current time.
“Viasat’s satellite-based in-flight internet service taps the power of the world’s most powerful satellites. This enables the service to be 10x faster than traditional in-flight Wi-Fi services,” says Don Buchman, General Manager & Vice President, Viasat Inc. Commercial Aviation.
It is said that in terms of payment for the services, travelers in SAS Plus, EuroBonus Diamond and Gold will be able to get the Wi-Fi for free. Passengers in Go or economy will have to pay 4.90EUR, with Silver members being offered the Wi-Fi for free during the launch campaign period from May to 19th August. It is optimized for use on all operating systems like Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android and accepts the major internet browsers of Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Safari.
All-in-all, this is the first Nordic carrier that will be operating this high-speed Wi-Fi, which will offer a USP against the likes of Norwegian and Widerøe who are also heading towards this sort of technology. It will be interesting to see what the initial speeds are like and whether they will be sustained going into the future.