APEX Insight: In 2016, Inmarsat’s annual global Inflight Connectivity Survey found 54% of respondents would opt for in-flight Wi-Fi over an in-flight meal. Two years on, the survey has found demand for the service is even higher.
Inmarsat has revealed that 67% of the 9,300 passengers who took part in its fourth annual global Inflight Connectivity Survey said they would be more likely to rebook with an airline if it had a fast and reliable in-flight Wi-Fi service.
The survey, conducted in association with market research company Populus, found passengers have high expectations. For example, while 55% of respondents indicated that in-flight Wi-Fi is crucial, 54% stated they would rather have no Wi-Fi on board, than a poor-quality service.
According to Inmarsat, the survey respondents ranked in-flight Wi-Fi availability as the fourth most important factor that they consider when choosing an airline, coming after an airline’s reputation, free checked baggage and extra legroom.
However, the service appears to be a particularly important consideration for business travelers, parents traveling with children and passengers aged 18-30, with over 90% of respondents in each group saying they would use it if it was available.
“Staying online is becoming a crucial part of the in-flight experience for today’s airline passengers” – Philip Balaam, Inmarsat
Inmarsat believes the demand for in-flight Wi-Fi is outstripping supply. Only 45% of the 9,300 respondents across the globe said they had access to Wi-Fi on a flight in the past 12 months. Of the the respondents who were passengers on Wi-Fi-enabled flights, 65% chose to use the service, and 70% of those who used it said they would recommend it to others.
Philip Balaam, president of Inmarsat Aviation, said, “Wi-Fi is essential to daily life on the ground, and airline passengers see no reason why their time on a flight should be restricted or spent any differently. Whether it’s used for sending that important work email, entertaining the children or even connecting with fellow passengers, staying online is becoming a crucial part of the in-flight experience for today’s airline passengers.”
Indeed, most flyers think being connected takes priority over a glass of wine or a beer during their flight. Of those surveyed, 53% said they would sacrifice an alcoholic beverage to get online.
Inmarsat recently released an in-depth two-part study on in-flight connectivity in association with the London School of Economics and Political Science. You can read a summary of the first part here and the second part here.