Canadian airlines aim to roll out WiFi access in more aircraft

Patrick O'Rourke

February 8, 2016 11:06am

There’s no question the Canadian airline industry lags behind its U.S. counterpart when it comes to in-flight Wi-Fi.

However, two of Canada’s largest airlines, Air Canada and WestJet, have plans to outfit the majority of their North American flights with Wi-Fi access this year.

Air Canada started rolling out Wi-Fi service in 2014 and has equipped 120 of its 129 single-aisle aircraft with Wi-Fi functionality. The airline also reportedly has plans to add Wi-Fi to its wide-body international aircraft in the future as well.

Not to be left behind, WestJet started rolling out WestJet Connect, the company’s own Wi-Fi and entertainment system, near the beginning of 2015. The airline reportedly offers Wi-Fi service on 30 percent of its aircraft, and expects internet to be available on most flights by the end of 2016.

In comparison, large American airlines like Delta and United offer Wi-Fi on more than 80 percent of its seat-miles. Air Canada only features Wi-Fi access in 18.53 per cent of the airline’s seat-miles.

  • roy

    not suprising we get nothing in service compared to the US .. hopefully sooner than later will be able to use wifi..

  • vn33

    Being a Canadian company, travelers will get the privilege to pay an exorbitant price for it! 🙂

    • MassDeduction

      The irony of that is that taxes are less in Canada than the U.S. these days (we have higher sales taxes, but they have higher personal and corporate taxes).

  • Hagay Marian

    The service is so slow, reminding me the speed of internet at the dial-up days.
    It isn’t matter how many aircraft are equipped with this on-board Wi-Fi when the service is so poor.
    I paid for it once and will give it another try in 12 months, otherwise it isn’t worth the cost of it.

    • Mike Scott

      not with 300 people streaming netflix.. lol

  • Tornado15550

    Would this be gogo in-flight WiFi or would it be a different internet service provided by Air Canada and West Jet? And would it offer free internet or the same paid plans that gogo in-flight WiFi service offered?

    • ifly2

      Air Canada uses Gogo. WestJet uses a satellite system from Panasonic. Neither is free.

  • Andrew

    Air Canada and WestJet may be behind in wi-fi, but I have found Air Canada and WestJet to have far superior service and nicer and cleaner planes than any US airline I have ever flown with.

  • VLAN

    Yet they continue to charge way above and beyond what US airlines charge for flights. Absolute farce. The consumer gets no value for their money, especially if you compare them with American airlines. They keep changing their baggage policy to allow lesser unless you pay more.

    Remember when the Oil prices were sky high and airline prices went up (and never came down) saying cost of fuel is more expensive. Well, the oil is cheaper then ever. Where is the serious drop in prices considering its a serious drop in oil prices??

    • Jeremy Cloutier

      How often do you actually fly?
      As someone who is on a minimum of 4 planes per month, flying only economy class I find it amazing how many people complain about something they have little to no experience with.
      How about appreciating the fact that after being away from your loved ones or planning a vacation, you can get there in mere hours instead of having to sail for weeks, or just never get there. No; we no longer live in the stone ages, but unless you deal with these airlines on a regular basis and deal with their superior service and hospitality, you should probably just stfu.

    • VLAN

      Hahahaha!! Ok boss. Just because you fly more often, for business I assume, you think no one else should be able to even have a say? Even though you probably get to expense that to your company/business and the rest of us common folks have to save our hard earned money to be able to travel back and forth twice a year just to see our family. Thank you sir, for your absolutely amazing response.

    • Jeremy Cloutier

      Actually, my flights come out of my own pocket as they’re NOT covered by my employer.
      And as one of the few people who’ve managed to hold onto my job in the oil patch as support personnel (no, I don’t work for big oil. I work for a company that caters for subcontractors of big oil), I can tell you that cheap oil comes at a cost of over 40,000 jobs lost for “common folk” such as yourself… Myself being on a potential chopping block at any given time.
      But thanks for assuming that I’m some wealthy douchebag, just out here trolling to get reaction.
      People who have no real idea of a situation have no business opening their mouths. And seeing whiney complaints about costs of service just shows you’ve likely never actually done a real comparison.
      Any American airline I’ve used has been substandard at best. Even westjet is a much cleaner, more comfortable option… Newer planes, friendlier staff, cleaner travel… Canada’s airlines win hands down any day of the week. And I’ll pay their fees to get home comfortably to see my loved ones after spending 25% of my earnings to get to and from work any time they ask.
      But don’t listen to a commoner like me. I don’t know what I’m talking about. Obviously, you have tons more experience with being ripped off by airlines because it costs so much to post that picture of a cat with some lame caption while you fly.

  • len alan

    Just as long as the damn plane doesn’t break out in flames like the Swiss Air off Peggys Cove. Their entertainment system was super costly.

  • Jeremy Cloutier

    Wow! Look at everyone bitching and complaining. How about the fact that you’re flying through the air at hundreds of miles an hour?!?!? How about the fact that you can cross the continent in hours instead of months?!?!? Your ancestors might have had to devour each other to survive such an adventure.
    And all you can do is whine that you can’t download pictures of cats on Facebook at a cheap rate.
    Over privileged, whiney, arrogant, miserable brats with some ridiculous sense of entitlement…

    Just shut up already.

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