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

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.

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