REVIEW: Virgin Australia's new inflight wi-fi is good enough to run Periscope (sometimes)

Image: iStock

We took a quick flight today from Sydney to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, then back again to test out Virgin Australia’s new inflight wi-fi service provided by Gogo and Optus.

The service is part of a free three month testing period that begun last Thursday, and is on one of the airline’s Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Here’s how our trip went.

8:45: We are up and running! I’m currently on WordPress, Twitter, Facebook and emails without any issues. Let’s run some tests, shall we?

8:59 Well, the Speedtest was unsuccessful. I’ll keep trying.

Image: Gizmodo

There’s no issues uploading to Instagram, though.

9:09 I am currently trying to live-stream video on Twitter, but the connection is too poor.

Image: Gizmodo

9:17: Confirmed: gifs can be tweeted without an issue.

9:25:I got the Speedtest to kind of work.

Image: Gizmodo

10:41 On the return flight now, filmed and uploaded a hyperlapse without a problem, although it did take around 2 minutes to upload.

10:46 Netflix is streaming without a hitch. Great quality, no buffering – this is better than my wi-fi in the office.

The wi-fi service lets you access free trials of Netflix, Stan and Pandora (or you can just sign into your existing account). It’s worth noting I recieved three months worth of credit on my existing Netflix account for signing in.

Image: Gizmodo

10:56 I was able to conduct a live periscope for the remainder of the flight – there were zero connectivity issues, and the lag was an minimal as it would have been on land.

The difference between the flight up, and the flight back, was enormous.

On the way up, even conducting a speedtest was impossible. On the way back, I was able to live-stream the whole flight on periscope, while watching Netflix, no problems at all.

So what made the difference? My theory is the crowd on the flight. It seemed to be a similar amount of people, but the flight back was full of families more concerned with the regular entertainment offerings than scrolling through social media.

In all, I’m impressed. It was fast, convenient, and (for now) free. I couldn’t fault it, really, for basic internet usage.

If I have a chance to try it out again, I’ll be seeing how it works for games.

Virgin Australia says it will finalise its business model after considering customer feedback, and the results of the testing period are known.

This article originally appeared on Gizmodo Australia.

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