More of the world’s passengers can now find better wifi onboard

Routehappy has published its annual review of in-flight wifi showing that 82 airlines around the world now offer internet connectivity in-flight.

The rich content for flight shopping platform published its wifi report during the Airline Passenger Experience Association’s TECH meeting in Los Angeles.

In 2017 a total of 12 airlines added the service over the past year since the 2017 report was published.

The airlines that now offer wifi on many of their flights represent 43% of all available seat miles (ASM) worldwide, an increase of 10% over the 2017 report.

US carriers still lead the pack, offering wifi on 85% of their ASMs and non-US carriers offer wifi on nearly 32% of their ASMs, with some still rolling out.

The top three airlines leading the pack in wifi availability are Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, and Emirates. Three airlines now offer wifi on 100% of their flights: Icelandair, Southwest and Virgin Atlantic.

Customers will find wifi service onboard 100% of long-haul flights with Air Europa, Delta, Emirates, Etihad Airways, Eurowings, EVA Air, Iberia, Kuwait, Lufthansa, SAS, Scoot, United and Virgin Atlantic.

The quality of wifi connections available is also improving. Connections rated as “Best” by Routehappy are available on 16% of ASMs worldwide. This represents an increase of 129% in quality of connections over 2017.

Routehappy rates wifi connections based on performance as follows:

  • Best wifi: Fastest wifi systems currently available, capable of advanced media streaming (whether allowed by airline or not); comparable to a home connection.
  • Better wifi: Wifi systems capable of full web browsing and limited media streaming.
  • Basic wifi: Wifi systems providing basic web browsing and no media streaming capabilities.

There are fewer connections rated as “Basic” this year, or 27% of all ASMs, a decrease of 16% from last years report.

The most common connections available (57% of ASMs worldwide) are still rated in the middle-of-the-road as “Better,” but a shift towards services rated “Best” continues.

Robert Albert, CEO of Routehappy said of this year’s results:

“2017 was another progressive year for in-flight Wi-Fi, with a large increase in the amount of airlines that provide Wi-Fi access, on top of the growing availability of nearly half the available seat miles worldwide. The 129% growth of Best Wi-Fi is extraordinary, it shows the commitment airlines are making to best in class systems and we expect to see this number increase even more in 2018.”

Part of the impetus for adoption is that airlines now recognize that Wi-Fi connectivity is a priority for their passengers. Even smaller carriers like Air Astana in Kazakhstan, Air Côte d’Ivoire in the Ivory Coast, and Air Mauritius now offer connectivity on their flights.

Another driver for adoption is the reduced cost of installation and operation of these systems, making it affordable to many more airlines. Airlines around the world are also modernizing their fleet which makes installation of these systems now more convenient. Airbus and Boeing are also offering connectivity as a line-fit option on the production line which makes it easier for airlines to introduce the service on new aircraft.

Related reading:

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Inflight wifi tipping point by 2022

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