Inflight Wi-Fi Faster, Cheaper & More Ubiquitous Than Ever
Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw
A new report on the state of inflight Wi-Fi reveals that 82 global airlines now offer the service, and Wi-Fi is accessible on nearly half of all available seat miles worldwide.
The report was produced by Routehappy, which offers a rich content platform for flight shopping. Key takeaways are that in 2017, major airlines from every corner of the globe began their long-awaited Wi-Fi rollouts, while early adopters began system upgrades.
Highlights of the report 2018 include:
82 airlines worldwide now offer in-flight Wi-Fi
12 additional airlines now offer in-flight Wi-Fi, representing a 17% increase from the 2017 report
Nearly half (43%) of all available seat miles (ASM) worldwide now offer at least a chance of Wi-Fi; up 10% from the 2017 report
U.S. airlines offer at least a chance of Wi-Fi on 86% of their ASMs, with 85% of ASMs fully rolled out
Non-U.S. airlines offer at least a chance of Wi-Fi on 32% of their ASMs, up by 14% from the 2017 report
Three carriers now offer Wi-Fi on 100% of their flights: Icelandair, Southwest, and Virgin Atlantic
13 airlines globally offer Wi-Fi on 100% of long-haul* flights: Air Europa, Delta, Emirates, Etihad, Eurowings, EVA Air, Iberia, Kuwait, Lufthansa, SAS, Scoot, United, and Virgin Atlantic
The Routehappy reports says the installation and operational cost of Wi-Fi systems has dropped to levels where just about any airline in the world can begin offering the service, something thought to be impossible for smaller airlines just a few years ago.
2017 saw a major expansion of the fastest available Wi-Fi systems. In the United States, Delta Air Lines has upgraded the Wi-Fi system on a majority of its domestic fleet for the second time. Originally flying with a Basic system, later upgraded to a Better system, Delta now operates more than 350 aircraft with Best Wi-Fi from Gogo installed.
These aircraft now offer access to streaming services such as Netflix anywhere they fly, even over oceans, and for a cost lower than previous generations of Wi-Fi systems. American Airlines and Alaska Airlines are following suit, also upgrading aircraft for the second time.
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.