How to find out if your flight has Wi-Fi, before you fly

Air New Zealand recently announced free internet access for all passengers flying on all of its 'Wi-Fi enabled' aircraft.

This sounds great, but it doesn't mean you'll always have an internet connection when you fly with Air NZ.

So what actually is a Wi-Fi enabled aircraft? 
 

This simply means the aircraft has been fitted with equipment that will provide passengers with an internet connection.

That kind of technology isn't cheap - just think of the logistics involved in maintaining a connection with an object that's traveling at over 400km/h across some of the world's most remote places, be they ocean or land.

The exact cost of installing Wi-Fi is commercially sensitive, but it's estimated to be around half a million dollars per aircraft.

Multiply that by the 65 or so jet aircraft owned by Air NZ and it's not cheap.

How can I tell if I'll have Wi-Fi on my Air NZ flight? 
 

The bump:

In order to get an internet connection to the plane, it needs a fairly decent sized antenna to keep you online.

Air New Zealand Airbus A321 271NX, Landing at Auckland International Airport, 10 March 2019
Photo credit: Getty Images

Look for a large bump on the exterior roof of the fuselage, as in the picture below. That's an instant giveaway that the plane you are flying on is capable of connecting to the internet.

The five letters:

You are probably familiar with seeing an airplane's unique registration code near the back of the aircraft. 

How to find out if your flight has Wi-Fi, before you fly
Photo credit: Boeing

Below is a list of the registration codes for all of Air NZ's Wi-Fi enabled aircraft. If the registration of the plane you are flying on is on the list, you're in luck - you'll have a connection on that flight.

  • Airbus A320:

    ZK-NHA, ZK-NHB, ZK-NHC
  • Airbus A321:

    ZK-NNA, ZK-NNB, ZK-NNC, ZK-NND
  • Boeing 777-200:

    ZK-OKD, ZK-OKG, ZK-OKE, ZK-OKB, ZK-OKF, ZK-OKH   
  • Boeing 777-300:

ZK-OKO, ZK-OKP, ZK-OKQ, ZK-OKS

The app:

If you have the Air NZ app on your phone, it will tell you if your flight has Wi-Fi. However, sometimes this information will change or be delayed, due to aircraft changes.

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