China Eastern Airlines will this week become the first mainland Chinese airline to offer in-flight Wi-Fi services on certain longhaul flights.
From Thursday the airline will be offering the service on flights from Shanghai to New York, Los Angeles and Toronto, China Todayreported.
China Eastern has secured approval from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to offer in-flight Wi-Fi on 21 of its aircraft for both domestic and international flights.
The carrier will be offering the service for free during a three-month trial period to passengers applying for an internet connection in advance. After this period an unspecified fee will be introduced.
The service will be expanded to more flights and planes by the end of the year. By mid-December, all flights from Shanghai to North America, as well as certain domestic flights from Shanghai to Beijing, Guangzhou, Kunming, Chengdu and Chongqing will offer the service.
Airlines worldwide are increasingly under pressure to offer in-flight Wi-Fi services for business travelers who demand to always be online, and as a value-added service to help stand out in a highly-competitive industry.