PHOTO: United Airlines is one carrier that is taking its in-flight Wi-Fi seriously, according to Routehappy's "Global State of In-Flight Wi-Fi" report (Courtesy United Continental Holdings, Inc.)
Routehappy, the product differentiation platform for air travel, announced an enhancement to its in-flight Wi-Fi data today, while also releasing an extensive report on the availability and quality of in-flight Wi-Fi around the world.
Routehappy, which now identifies flights in its Scores & Happiness Factors API based on the chance of them including Wi-Fi ("some," "good," or "very good" based on subfleet rollouts) and Wi-Fi type ("good," "better," and "best" based on underlying technology offered), released an infographic, "Global State of In-Flight Wi-Fi," that shows just how important Wi-Fi has become in the friendly skies.
According to the report, 52 airlines across the globe now offer in-flight Wi-Fi in most regions of the world.
U.S. airlines lead the world in this area. U.S. airlines now offer at least "some chance" of Wi-Fi (up to one-third of a given subfleet has Wi-Fi) on 66 percent of their flights each day. Delta boasts the most flights and flight miles with Wi-Fi among all airlines. American/US Airways offers "better" Wi-Fi on its entire Airbus narrowbody fleet (more than 300 aircraft). And United not only has Wi-Fi on most of its international planes, but it also is one of only two airlines in the world (joining JetBlue) to offer the "best" or highest bandwidth Wi-Fi system.
Virgin America, Alaska and United separate themselves by offering both Wi-Fi and in-seat power on the same flights.
Another reason to be happier as a passenger: All the busiest U.S. domestic routes (20 daily flights or more in each direction including JFK-LAX, LGA-BOS, LGA-DCA, JFK-SFO, CLT-ATL) have Wi-Fi availability on all flights.
Forty-five airlines based outside of the U.S. offer at least some chance of Wi-Fi on 15 percent of their international flights. While this number pales in comparison to U.S. airlines, it's worth noting this number is up significantly from just a year and a half ago.
In fact, nine non-U.S. airlines now offer at least a "very good chance" of Wi-Fi (more than two-thirds of a given subfleet has Wi-Fi) on more than 20 percent of their international flight miles. These airlines include: Japan, Emirates, Aeroflot, Iberia, Lufthansa, Singapore, Etihad, Norwegian and Icelandair (Norwegian and Icelandair offer at least a "very good chance" of Wi-Fi on more than 80 percent of their international flight miles).
Overall, passengers across the globe have at least some chance of accessing Wi-Fi on nearly one-fourth (24 percent) of all flight miles in a given day, according to the Global State of In-Flight Wi-Fi report.
To give you an idea of how seriously airlines are taking the demand for in-flight Wi-Fi, U.S. domestic flights with at least some chance of Wi-Fi grew by nearly 1,600 since July 2013. Eighteen months ago, United offered at least some chance of Wi-Fi on 518 domestic flights-today, that number has jumped to 1,445, a 179 percent increase. American, Delta and JetBlue have added 630, 503 and 386 more flights, respectively, with at least some chance of Wi-Fi.
Domestic airlines and particularly international carriers have been able to increase the availability and quality of in-flight Wi-Fi in part because of the development of satellite-based technology, Jason Rabinowitz, data research manager at Routehappy, told TravelPulse.
For example, 18 months ago, Gogo's air-to-ground network was primarily the way U.S. domestic carriers were able to offer Wi-Fi to passengers. Now, there are multiple satellite connections to draw from across the globe, which has led to more airlines jumping on board. In addition, airlines that use Gogo are upgrading from Gogo ATG to Gogo ATG-4 (classified as "better" Wi-Fi on Routehappy). The three major U.S. airlines (United, Delta, and American) now have multiple aircraft types with international Wi-Fi installed flying on international routes, with aggressive rollout plans in place.
The development has been so significant that it prompted Routehappy to spend a great deal of time producing the Global State of In-Flight Wi-Fi report. Routehappy CEO Robert Albert called it the most extensive study that has ever been conducted about airlines' Wi-Fi capabilities.
"Wi-Fi is one of the most sought after, new amenities flyers want to access on their flights, and there has been significant investment by airlines since our last report," Albert said, via a release. "Coverage is starting to be meaningful on flights worldwide, along with a wide variety of speeds, coverage availability, and pricing models, including free of charge. The industry needs a trustworthy source of truth for in-flight Wi-Fi offerings. Routehappy has decided to make it a focus area, and is pleased to have greatly enhanced our Wi-Fi data in our Scores & Happiness Factors API to benefit users of our customer sites."
Routehappy's data has recently been adopted by Expedia and Serko. To visit Routehappy, go to www.routehappy.com.
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