El Al streams in flight gaming tournament with Viasat

Israel’s flag carrying airline has achieved a national first, as it successfully streamed a gaming tournament on board its aircraft. Using a Boeing 787 flying from Tel Aviv to London, the aircraft hosted four of the country’s biggest YouTube stars in a live competition, which was streamed to thousands of viewers on the ground thanks to El Al’s partnership with Viasat.

El AL Gaming flight
Some familiar faces were on board for the gaming flight too. Photo: El Al

El Al Vice President of Commercial and Industry Affairs Michael Strassburger told the Jerusalem Post that,

“EL AL is proud to be the first airline to present a gaming flight out of Israel and to enable the gaming tournament for leading gamers,” said El Al Vice President of Commercial and Industry Affairs Michael Strassburger. “This is an innovative marketing step made possible by EL AL’s high speed internet experience and varied media content that we offer our customers.”

The gaming flight

El Al flight LY315 traveling to London from Israel on July 25th welcomed a number of leading gamers and YouTubers from the nation. Also on board were some famous faces from the world of Nintendo.

Gamers and YouTube stars Eyal Yossef, Shlomi Ben Atar (“The Basement), Ben Keysar and Guy Podolitch (GuyTV) were joined by three children: Yonatan Givon, Raphael Vanunu and Shelav Hassid who won free flight tickets to London as part of the promotion.

El Al gaming flight
Israeli YouTubers are joined by competition winners for the flight. Photo: El Al

Participants competed on Nintendo Switch consoles, going head to head on a variety of popular titles. These included Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3, FIFA, Super Smash Bros and Brawlhalla.

Using Viasat’s high speed satellite network, tens of thousands of viewers were able to watch the live stream via YouTube, the airline’s Facebook page and on popular gaming sites such as Twitch. As well as viewers on the ground, other passengers on board the flight were also able to view all the action using the on board WiFi to watch the stream.

You can watch some of the action below (in Hebrew).

Having a lag free gaming experience and being able to livestream it both on board and to viewers on the ground is a testament to the efficiency of the Viasat network.

El Al and Viasat

El Al was the European launch customer for Viasat, beginning its first high speed WiFi service on board in July 2018. This followed in depth beta testing, to hone the passenger service offering and internet packages that would work for the airline.

The inaugural high speed service took place on a 787 Dreamliner between Tel Aviv and Paris. Results showed that 128 devices were connected during the flight, with more than half filming and streaming live video.

Viasat current and future coverage
Viasat’s current and future coverage. Image: Viasat

Viasat provides El Al with high speed Ka-band connectivity, offering more bandwidth to get more passengers streaming faster. In February this year, El Al conducted its first connected transatlantic services, using Viasat’s ViaSat-2 satellite for high quality, high speed connections throughout the flight.

Viasat chairman and CEO Mark Dankberg said in a press release at the time,

 “We’ve had a long, and successful partnership with the team at EL Al … EL AL selected Viasat because they had confidence in our ability to make their vision for in-flight connectivity a reality—from optimizing passenger satisfaction with great in-flight Wi-Fi experiences to ensuring passengers could enjoy enriching entertainment when flying over the Atlantic Ocean. We’re proud to be able to help EL AL realize their vision for the connected aircraft.”

El Al has equipped Viasat on all 11 of its current Boeing 787 Dreamliners, and has more than 10 of its fleet of 737 aircraft connected too. Although economy passengers have to pay to use the service, those on the top tier of its loyalty program, Platinum Matmid members, get access for free.

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