Israel-based airline El Al has launched its new inflight Wi-Fi service, which uses Viasat’s Ka-band equipment, on routes between Israel and Europe. El Al officially launched the service at Ben Gurion International airport on Tuesday, debuting it on a flight from Tel Aviv to Paris.
The service will be available on all El Al flights using its 737-900 fleet, and is gradually being installed on its 787 Dreamliner and 737-800 fleets.
According to El Al’s website, passengers can choose between three different tiers – Basic, Social and Business.
Basic includes instant messaging applications such as WhatsApp, access to email and browsing free portal sites on the aircraft via tablets and mobile phones and is free.
Social, at $9.99 per flight segment, includes the basic plan and also includes browsing websites and short videos (up to three minutes long).
The Business plan includes the above, as well as streaming, music and VPN connections, at a cost of $19.99 per flight.
On flights departing from Tel Aviv the service will be available about 30 minutes after take-off, and until the seat belt sign is switched on before landing. On flights to Tel Aviv the service will be available once the seat belt sign is switched off, and will end about 30 minutes before landing.
Neither video nor voice calls on passengers’ mobile devices are available through El Al Wi-Fi.
The airline’s free Basic WiFi plan can be used with smartphones and tablets only (not including laptops). The premium Business Wi-Fi plan can be used on all devices, including laptops.
Viasat’s next-generation satellite network covers the European continent through its joint venture with Eutelsat using the KA-SAT satellite.