Just How Important is In-Flight Wi-Fi?

“Always on” is no longer a luxury. A new study shows that for most people, being connected is a requirement, even when flying 30,000 feet above the ground. And for parents towing a child, it is a life-saver.

Inmarsat’s annual Inflight Connectivity Survey, released July 26, found that 60 percent of global passengers view in-flight connectivity as a necessity. Inmarsat’s survey included 9,000 airline passengers from 18 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, North America and Latin America.

Findings show that after experiencing in-flight Wi-Fi, 30 percent rank connectivity in the top three requirements (ranking below only price and schedule) when selecting an airline. Sixty percent of passengers even consider in-flight connectivity to be more important than in-flight entertainment.

The responses of U.K. passengers show that 74 percent would pay for in-flight Wi-Fi on short flights; 80 percent would pay for connection on medium-length flights; and 82 percent would do the same on long flights.

The race for high-quality, in-flight connectivity is very competitive. The survey shows that 44 percent of passengers will begin to change their preferred airline if they cannot browse and stream without interruptions. “High-quality, in-flight Wi-Fi is changing the way people think about flying and how they spend their time in the air,” says Inmarsat Aviation President Leo Mondale. “Whether using the time to work, connect with friends and family, or for shopping or viewing entertainment, the availability of in-flight broadband has become a major factor when choosing an airline.”

Free Wi-Fi Airlines:

  • China Air
  • China Eastern
  • Aer Lingus
  • Norwegian Air Shuttle
  • Jet Blue Airways
  • Philippine Airlines
  • Vueling Airlines
  • Nok Air
  • Turkish Airlines