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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : July 24, 2014

Air passengers demand constant connectivity and fast in-flight Wi-Fi

People today are accustomed to easy access to Wi-Fi even when out and about in public. New research from Honeywell Aerospace finds that those expectations have expanded to include when travelers are airborne.

by Helen Leggatt

In-flight Wi-Fi is increasingly influencing travelers' decisions on which airline to fly. Two-thirds (66%) base their flight selection based on the availability of Wi-Fi. According to Honeywell Aerospace's latest Wireless Connectivity survey, air passengers today expect constant and fast Wi-Fi even at 32,000 feet.

Furthermore, nearly one quarter say they have paid more for a flight that has Wi-Fi and almost half would be willing to give up other in-flight conveniences to be able to log-on at speeds akin to those at home while in mid-air. The same number is even prepared to go through airport security twice.

"The commercial aviation industry has to pay attention to meet the demands of passengers, giving them the freedom to stay connected whenever and wherever they want," says Jack Jacobs, vice president, Marketing and Product Management, Honeywell Aerospace. Jacobs adds that Honeywell's survey of 1,000 U.S. adults that have previously used in-flight Wi-Fi "affirms that consumers are accustomed to easy access to Wi-Fi, and they expect it to be fast and consistent like at home or work. Those expectations are expanding up into the sky."

Air passengers' use of Wi-Fi was focused on three main areas - fun, entertainment and productivity:

- 39% received personal or general breaking news in-flight;

- 19% used in-flight Wi-Fi to plan their next vacation;

- 9% pretended they were in the office while on vacation;

- Of those using Wi-Fi for entertainment over half (54%) say they would be embarrassed if someone saw what they were doing including browsing dating sites, watching cat videos or watching children's movies.

In line with Honeywell's 2013 survey, passengers are prepared to sacrifice convenience for Wi-Fi. Last year's survey showed passengers were willing to give up legroom, snacks and even bathroom access (we'll assume they were on short haul!).

This year, popular sacrifices include enduring airport security twice (45%), showing up at the airport 3 hours prior to boarding (34%) and swapping their ticket to fly standby on an aircraft that offers Wi-Fi that is as fast as their home connection.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: airline industry, in-flight, travel, Wi-Fi

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