Travellers see inflight Internet as a necessity, not a luxury

Travellers see inflight Internet as a necessity, not a luxury

A majority of passengers not only want inflight Internet, they're willing to pay for it – and prepared to ditch airlines that offer no WiFi or, arguably worse, slow WiFi.

That's the take-out from a new survey published by global satellite provider Inmarsat, and it comes as Qantas and Virgin Australia ramp up their plans for sky-high WiFi services.

Inmarsat's annual Inflight Connectivity Survey polled 9,000 airline passengers from 18 countries around the world in early 2017, and a breakdown of the results shows that passengers in the Asia-Pacific region are among the most willing to pay for inflight Wi-Fi.

67% consider inflight Internet access to be a necessity rather than a luxury – the highest number around the world – while 61% rate WiFi as "more important than inflight entertainment".

And there's a red flag for airlines which have yet to get connected above the clouds or, perhaps worse, offer a slow and unreliable service: 52% of survey respondents said they would stop using their preferred airline if they offered "poor quality WiFi".

Furthermore, Internet access now sits within 40% of all passengers' top three considerations when choosing an airline, behind the ticket price (53%) and flight schedule (44%).

David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.
 

20 comments

  • elchriss0

    elchriss0

    31 Jul, 2017 08:45 am

    Personally, as a leisure traveller, wifi does not make a difference to what airline I pick.  If they offer a reasonable price and the flight is long enough then I will probably pay for it but if it's expensive or non-existent then I wouldn't be fussed.

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  • Yvan J Drake

    MRYJDrake

    31 Jul, 2017 09:17 am

    I can see why a lot of people feel that way, but Wifi on board is not a biggie for me, I've never used it. I like the isolation and peace and quiet for a few hours, so I'll happily fill the seats of those who arent using them.
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • mcglynp

    mcglynp

    31 Jul, 2017 09:38 am

    Can a survey conducted by a global satellite provider be considered unbiased in regards to the outcome?.  Perhaps a survey on ausbt may be more enlightening. 

    From my own perspective,  I love the disengagement flying provides from my otherwise connected life.  Though the time I was re-routed to SFO.  Wifi was a godsend to book accommodation mid flight,  but certainly its not in my top 3.
    Member who gave thanks

    David

  • David Flynn

    David

    31 Jul, 2017 10:03 am

    Inflight Internet is very much a 50/50 proposition, we find, both among our audience and travellers in general – some love that increasingly rare slice of downtime in our hyper-connected lives, others (especially business travellers) find it's exceptionally useful. Over time, I've moved into the second camp (see https://www.ausbt.com.au/how-i-learned-to-love-inflight-internet).

    And yes, we definitely intend to run our own survey on this subject later this year!
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  • David Robertson

    David Robertson

    31 Jul, 2017 10:46 am

    It will be very interesting to see the effect this has on the domestic market if Qantas has WiFi that's free but Virgin Australia charges for it, and also if the Qantas service is faster once there are more people and aircraft using it, which should be the case when you look at the technology of ViaSat vs GoGo.
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  • russell

    russell

    31 Jul, 2017 11:55 am

    I am on the side of downtime when flying. Enjoy the fact for the length of the flight I am disconnected from the world outside. Its a rare luxury.
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  • P1

    P1

    31 Jul, 2017 04:35 pm

    I don't have any problems "disconnecting" from the world when I'm at home, and there I also have plenty of entertainment options to relax if I so desire.

    Nothing is worse than a long boring flight, with nothing but a fuzzy ICE or having to listen to your ipod for 14 hours.

    Anyway, as I have said previously, I won't book a flight theses days on a carrier, unless they have WIFI.
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  • Jay G

    jginpil

    31 Jul, 2017 02:49 pm

    Can we have inflight internet for Netflix et al but block work emails?  i like the luxury of legitimatly switching off.
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  • Yvan J Drake

    MRYJDrake

    31 Jul, 2017 03:36 pm

    That's up to you to do locally on your device, but it can be done. 
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  • Mavers

    Mavers

    31 Jul, 2017 03:11 pm

    I fly almost monthly, but I only ever bother with wifi on long haul flights. The rest of the time I just read a book or listen to music.
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  • P1

    P1

    31 Jul, 2017 04:03 pm

    how true, for the last year all flights I've taken, WIFI was definitely a deciding factor.

    I laugh at Qantas telling us in the past that "no-one" wanted WIFI. And they are still late to the party. When will their international flights have WIFI - Long duration International should have been their priority!
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  • Andrew

    EKdevotee

    31 Jul, 2017 04:20 pm

    Yep, unsurprisingly Qantas has fumbled the ball......again!

    I do Melbourne to several Africa countries on EK 4 or 5 times a year in F,  and I now rely on WiFi to keep in touch when in the air. AND I have been very frustrated by slow internet until recently when EK changed its pricing structure. But it's still slower than it should be because there are far too many idiots down the back attempting to stream video instead of watching the ICE offerings.
    Member who gave thanks

    NLF

  • mitchimus

    mitchimus

    31 Jul, 2017 04:25 pm

    I have to admit,  inflight internet access is not something that I think about when booking. 
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  • BrisbanePE

    BrisbanePE

    31 Jul, 2017 04:28 pm

    I too suspect the survey is biased due to the participants. Personally I don't want or need inflight wi-fi for anything work related and it's nice to have some isolation when travelling. I certainly wouldn't pay for it either. :)
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  • P1

    P1

    31 Jul, 2017 04:32 pm

    I certainly wouldn't use the internet for anything work related. But it definitely helps pass the time on long international flights.
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  • Wilma Ballsdrop

    Wilma Ballsdrop

    31 Jul, 2017 05:07 pm

    Good grief. Cant people cope for a few hours away from work or the www?
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  • John Odlum

    John Odlum

    31 Jul, 2017 05:32 pm

    When I am jumping onto a four hour flight in the morning from Perth to Sydney and the timezones are going to work against me, why yes, I would like to be connected and productive.
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  • bloatedstoat

    bloatedstoat

    31 Jul, 2017 05:30 pm

    Internet is vital for some of us who need to be in touch with the office or other services whilst in transit, this is particularly important for me when doing the Europe long haul.

    In the past I had to respond to an inbox full of email in lounges leaving little or no time to relax whereas now I can manage them at a leisurely pace whilst in the air.

    Garuda Indonesia's in-flight wi-fi is not only terrific value ($25USD unlimited per 24 hours in J & free in F) it's also fast with only minor drop outs over restricted countries.

    I actively make booking decisions on whether or not wi-fi will be available and also if it represents good value, that's important too. Some airlines are a rip-off.



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  • lm1

    lm1

    31 Jul, 2017 09:03 pm

    A good book, some music in comfy headphones, and a glass of bubbles. That's all I need on a short flight.
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  • lm1

    lm1

    31 Jul, 2017 09:06 pm

    Post finger slipped.... long haul, if the IFE is crap, then it's a bonus, but these days the movie selections usually suffice.
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22 May, 2019 03:27 pm

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