El Al Israel Airlines announced it officially launched its new fast, reliable commercial in-flight Wi-Fi service, powered by global communications company, Viasat.
El Al was Viasat’s European launch customer. Since first announcing their relationship, both companies undertook broad market studies focused on in-flight Wi-Fi passenger demand, engagement and service offerings, including a customer beta phase to determine internet package types. El Al also began to re-energize its fleet taking on new Boeing 787 Dreamliners—a recent addition to Viasat’s certified platforms.
As of today, 15 El Al aircraft have been outfitted with Viasat’s latest equipment, providing high-speed connectivity to El Al’s mix of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, Boeing 737-900 aircraft and Boeing 737-800 planes. By mid-2020, EL AL expects to have the majority of its fleet connected with the Viasat service.
First high-speed Wi-Fi flight
Earlier this week, El Al held its “inaugural high-speed Wi-Fi service flight,” which flew from Tel Aviv to Paris on one of its new Dreamliner aircraft. There were 128 devices connected—many that were streaming movies, videos, music and even the World Cup semifinal. More than half of the passengers were filming and streaming videos—some via Facebook Live, while others were capturing and uploading videos and pictures of their journey, which they posted to multiple social media sites from Facebook and Instagram to Twitter.
El Al will offer three internet service packages:
- Basic: Passengers can use their smartphones and tablets for instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp, to access email and browse El Al’s free sites. The package is free during the launch period.
- Social: This package builds on the Basic plan, letting passengers use their smartphones and tablets to access instant messaging applications, email, free site browsing and for viewing short videos of up to three minutes. This package cost per passenger per flight is $9.99, with discounted rates for Matmid Frequent Flyers and FLYCARD holders.
- Business: This premium plan lets passengers use their smartphones, tablets and laptops for instant messaging, email and free site browsing. Unlike the other plans, users of the Business package gain additional connectivity capabilities, including streaming movies, music and more as well as VPN access. Package cost per passenger per flight is $19.99, also with discounted rates for Matmid Frequent Flyers and FLYCARD holders.
During the introductory trial period for international flights from Europe to North America, El Al will offer the service free of charge until the fourth quarter of 2018.
Viasat is a global communications company that believes everyone and everything in the world can be connected. For more than 30 years, Viasat has helped shape how consumers, businesses, governments and militaries around the world communicate. Today, the Company is developing the ultimate global communications network to power high-quality, secure, affordable, fast connections to impact people’s lives anywhere they are—on the ground, in the air or at sea.
Copyright Photo: El Al Israel Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner 4X-EDB (msn 42117) LHR (SPA). Image: 941028.
El Al aircraft slide show: