Qantas has scrapped its plans to provide wireless internet access on flights, citing a lack of interest from customers during a trial.
The trial, announced by chief executive Alan Joyce in December last year, ran for nine months and allowed passengers to access the internet on six of the airline's A380 superjumbos on long-haul flights to London and across the Pacific to Los Angeles.
A spokesman said that customer take-up of the wi-fi service on flights during the trial, which ended last month, was extremely low. He also said providing the service was expensive.
"Naturally, the costs associated with offering a reliable internet connection in-flight are significantly higher than on the ground, particularly when you are flying over vast expanses of ocean and can't connect to ground towers," he said.
Qantas charged between $12.90 and $39.90 for its data packages on board. The average take up of the service was less than five per cent, according to the airline.
The spokesman also said that, as most of the airline's A380 services operated at night, passengers preferred sleeping to surfing the web.
"I think passengers would be far more interested in internet access on domestic services, especially on the long transcontinental trek," he said.
Flynn said Qantas was better off focusing on improvements that more passengers would appreciate.
The Qantas wi-fi system, provided by IT services company OnAir, ran on Inmarsat's "SwiftBroadband" technology, which uses satellite links from the aircraft to beam the data back to ground networks.
Emirates has introduced the same technology on its A380 superjumbos and currently provides wireless internet on board. It charges $US15 for 25 megabytes or $US25 ($A23.90) for 100 megabytes using a laptop; $7.50 for 5MB for mobile phones in all classes.
Singapore Airlines also offers wireless internet on board some flights, with price plans at $US25 for 30 megabytes and $US10 for 10 megabytes.
Virgin Australia plans to have inflight entertainment streamed to passengers' own mobile devices through an onboard wi-fi system before the end of the year, but this would not include internet access.