Travellers flying with Air China will soon be able to surf the Net during their flights since the successful trial run of its inflight Wi-Fi service on April 16. During the period, Air China passengers on flight CA4116 from Beijing to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, and passengers on flight CA4109 from Chengdu to Beijing became the first in China utilizing the free Wi-Fi during the journeys.
In the trial, passengers were allowed to use their personal computers and electronic devices to surf the Internet. Devices connect to Wi-Fi provided in the cabin, and then access the Internet for web browsing, instant messaging, online video, video calls, e-mail, etc. Passengers aren’t allowed to use mobile phones in the trial, and Internet service are not available during take-off and landing to comply with the country’s aviation regulations. Source
Several passengers posted entries and photos to show they were using the in-flight Internet service on their Sina Weibo micro-blogging accounts during the flights. Some said they were able to have video chats with family members or friends on the ground. Source
The system, which relies on ground antennas positioned along the flight route, is a home-grown response to the growing availability of high-speed Internet services on airliners in other parts of the world. It comes nine months after Air China became the first domestic carrier to offer passengers satellite-linked Internet on long-distance flights at high altitudes, and two years after introducing the country’s first LAN-based Internet aboard international flights. Source
The Beijing-based airline launched its first in-flight wireless system in 2011, enabling passengers to access a local area network on flights. In July 2013, the company kicked off a trial of an upgraded system that strengthened the connection to the Internet.