Virgin promises in-flight internet within 12 months

Virgin Australia has plans to give all passengers access to in-flight internet by midway through next year. Qantas plans to roll out their sky-high wifi around the same time.

And I have to be honest – I’m feeling a little melancholy about this.

I can see the upsides. Yes, it would be handy to stream the latest episode of Peppa Pig in the iPad for my kids while shuttling between the Gold Coast and Melbourne.


And yes, it would probably be handy to be able to check emails when I’m flying home from a business meeting in Sydney.

But in my view, those small, insignificant benefits pale in comparison to the pure, unadulterated luxury of being ‘out of contact’ for a short period of time.

It’s like a throwback to those years only way back when (you know, around a decade ago), when you finished work at 5pm on a Friday… and you legitimately finished work.

You didn’t check emails over the weekend, or think about finishing a report, or call anyone from your office with a work-related query. You shut off from thinking about work until 8.30am Monday morning, because work was where your files, emails and resources were.

Smartphones and remote email have transformed the way we operate and now, the line between ‘office hours’ and ‘personal hours’ is forever blurred.

There’s nothing we can do about that now (aside from establishing our own personal boundaries around how we work, of course!)

But for me, those luxurious moments spent on a flight have always been something I’ve appreciated. For that period of time, you were completely out of reach and people had absolutely no expectation of being able to contact you.

It doesn’t matter whether you were shutting off your laptop and phone for a one-hour jaunt to Sydney, or a 20-hour long haul to London: you could down tools.

You could read a book. Or watch the in-flight movies. Or talk to other passengers. And you could do it all completely guilt-free, knowing there was not a possible way you could be ‘productive’ during those hours. Huzzah!

So while some people might be celebrating about the introduction of the internet in the skies, I’m not one of them.