More airlines offering free inflight Wi-Fi

20150502183508moreairlinesLondon : Over 20 airlines around the world are providing free inflight Wi-Fi today and, according to the latest industry estimation from SITA OnAir, more than double that will do so by 2020.
“Take-up rate increases by up to ten times when airlines provide free inflight Wi-Fi. Passengers want inflight connectivity but very few expect to pay for it,” said François Rodriguez, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, SITA OnAir.
“We are becoming digital omnivores and depending on the context, we want to connect our phones, tablets and laptops all the time. SITA OnAir is helping airlines keep up with this growing trend by providing the industry with the business model that meets the airline’s commercial strategy and brand positioning.”
SITA’s passenger research shows nearly every passenger has the potential to be connected:
– 97 per cent have a personal electronic device of some form;
– 81 per cent carry a smartphone;
– 43 per cent bring a tablet;
– 43 per cent fly with a laptop; and
– 18 per cent have a phone, a tablet and a laptop.
“People are addicted to being connected,” added Rodri-guez. “A study in the US showed that 60 per cent of people cannot go without Wi-Fi for more than a day. 39 per cent would sacrifice coffee and would give up 43 per cent chocolate in return for Wi-Fi access. Airlines need to think hard about inflight amenities. Newspapers and peanuts are traditionally used to keep passengers happy. But things have changed and the new generation of passengers clearly prefers to access social media instead.”
Primarily, people want to stay in touch during their entire journey. Looking at analysis of the traffic on SITA OnAir’s networks, once inflight, over half of the most used apps are for messaging, email or voice over IP. The most widespread ones are WhatsApp, iMessage, Snapshot, Gmail and FaceTime.
The next biggest group of apps is social media, which is also arguably about communication. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram come top. Search engines_ Google and Yahoo_ are also popular, as are YouTube, Spotify, Google Map and Apple Map.
Different business models have been ado-pted to meet this demand :
Emirates provides free Wi-Fi for all its passengers, in every class, as a standard cabin service.
Saudia provides complimentary internet to its premium passengers, through a dedicated phone and tablet app.
Singapore Airlines also provides free Wi-Fi for its premium passengers, sponsored by an external company. In this case it is Citibank, which has covered the implementation costs of the promotion.
Philippine Airlines provides free Wi-Fi to celebrate specific events throughout the year, such as the opening of a new route or calendar events like Christmas, with a dedicated promotion.
“This is the start of the connected aircraft,” Rodriguez added. “Airlines are using the aircraft connectivity for more applications to help the cabin and cockpit crew. The deployment of operational applications, including maintenance reporting and aircraft health monitoring is also already happening.”

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