Connectivity

Inmarsat Survey Shows 60% Believe In-Flight Wi-Fi is a Necessity

By S.L. Fuller | July 31, 2017

Inflight Wi-Fi

File photo. Photo courtesy of  Getty Images

Inmarsat’s global survey on in-flight connectivity shows that 60% of passengers believe in-flight Wi-Fi is a necessity, not a luxury, Inmarsat said. The survey also shows that 45% would pay for Wi-Fi, and 61% say Wi-Fi is more important that onboard entertainment. As for parents, 66% said in-flight internet is a “life saver” when traveling with children.

“High-quality in-flight Wi-Fi is changing the way people think about flying and how they spend their time in the air,” said Leo Mondale, president of Inmarsat Aviation. “It is clear the opportunity that connectivity presents to airlines cannot be underestimated.”

A similar survey from Gogo earlier this year found that half of millennials expect their connectivity in the air to be the same as that on the ground.

According to the Inmarsat survey results, demand for Wi-Fi is so great that 44% of respondents said they would stop using their preferred airline within the next year if uninterrupted in-flight connectivity was not available for passengers. Inmarsat said that passengers rank the ability to connect to their personal mobile devices in flight in the top three considerations when choosing an airline. Ticket prices is No. 1 at 53%, and flight slots is No. 2 at 44%, for 40% of passengers who have experienced high-quality Wi-Fi.

Other findings Inmarsat noted include:

  • 56% of business travelers who have previously used in-flight Wi-Fi said the ability to remain online and work during a flight is greatly improving passenger experience
  • 45% would rather pay for Wi-Fi than use free onboard entertainment
  • 56% of passengers say a lack of reliable in-flight Wi-Fi is a major cause of frustration with plane journeys
  • 61% agree that in-flight Wi-Fi takes the anxiety out of flying because they can stay in contact with people on the ground
  • 77% of passengers would pay for in-flight connectivity on short-haul leisure flights, an increase from 64% in 2016. Those happiest to pay are passengers aged 25 to 34, parents traveling with children and passengers traveling in Asia Pacific and the U.S.
  • 89% of passengers are willing to pay for in-flight connectivity on long-haul leisure flights
  • Passengers have the highest expectations of connectivity in the Asia Pacific region, where 91% of passengers are willing to pay for Wi-Fi on a long-haul flight
  • 52% of passengers would take advantage of the ability to purchase items during a flight and collect them upon arrival at the airport, providing huge opportunities for in-flight e-commerce

This survey was Inmarsat’s third-annual. It was published by Inmarsat, in association with market research company GfK. Inmarsat claims the survey is the largest of its kind, with responses from 9,000 airline passengers from 18 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and North and Latin America.

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