Qantas has explained its commercially unsuccessful internet trial. But it won’t rule out ruling it back in.
Gone, but not banished forever, is the message from Qantas as it breaks its silence on the shock discovery earlier today that it had deemed its nine month trial on some A380 services a failure.
This is the Qantas response:
One point is that it ran the trial across the Pacific and maybe as it says, the night time desire for sleep was the critical factor in depressing demand.
If you are flying to the US night comes quickly, and passes quickly. You are on a long haul red-eye. The temptation to try and maximise the shorter hours of darkness compared to flying from the US may have distorted the result.
Coming back, it is going to be dark all or most of the way, for around 14 hours, so once you have slept as much as you can, or given up trying to, doing email and reading the news is probably a more welcome activity than it would be flying into the dawn.
Perhaps the same considerations work better flying to and from Dubai, since the A380 on the way there is flying with the night, and it just goes on and on and on, unless you are in the bar. And on the way back it leaves earlier in the day, and by the time you get close to Australia’s west coast, a short night rushes up but nothing is happening of interest at home because everyone there is asleep so why bother logging in anyhow?
It important to note that both the Qantas and Emirates internet services used the same On Air system. If more than around 5% of a full flight is online at the same time the bandwidth available is going to be divided to less than impressive speeds anyhow.
Perhaps when Qantas changes its mind it will opt for a system which will allow a higher proportion of a full flight to get something more reliably fast at the outset, bringing the benefits of scale, speed and thus lower costs into play, feeding back into much better demand levels.
And maybe the fact that Emirates will have it, and Qantas won’t, might bring this about sooner rather than later.