Airline passengers get more connectivity options

Air New Zealand has announced that it will enable passengers to use Bluetooth from boarding gate to boarding gate on all flight

Separate initiatives by Air New Zealand and SkyBus, operator of the Auckland-to-airport bus service, have given airline travellers a boost in connectivity.

Air New Zealand has announced that it will enable passengers to use Bluetooth from boarding gate to boarding gate on all flights, so long as their device is set to flight mode.

Travellers will be able to remain connected with their wearable Bluetooth devices such as Fitbit devices, Apple watches and Bluetooth headsets, as well as operate a wireless mouse and wireless keyboard during flights.

Air New Zealand said the move followed it securing approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand for Bluetooth use on board following “comprehensive testing conducted across its fleet.”

Meanwhile, Melbourne-based SkyBus, which operates the Auckland city to airport bus service following its acquisition of Auckland Airbus in 2015, is offering free Wi-Fi access on the service.

It says the service has already been used by more than over 200,000 passengers, averaging 16MB of data each. The move follows introduction of free Wi-Fi on SkyBus’ Melbourne Airport service.

SkyBus is also working with Putti, Spark Digital’s specialist mobile app design unit, to develop a smartphone-based paperless ticketing system, which it plans to then take to Melbourne.

SkyBus director Michael Sewards, said: "It was important to find a local technology partner with the expertise to help us realise our vision. Above everything else we were looking for innovation and an ability to deliver.

“Not only did we find that partner in Spark Digital, but we found Spark's technology is better than anything we have experienced back in Australia. So much better that we're planning to take some of that technology back to Melbourne and then possibly roll it out elsewhere in the world.”

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