Skyscanner survey finds limited appetite for in-flight wi-fi

Only just over a third of people would use airline in-flight entertainment if wi-fi access was available on aircraft, a new study shows.

A survey by Skyscanner asked 1,000 travellers about their ideal on-board entertainment. Only 37% would choose to use the airline’s in-flight entertainment system if wi-fi was on offer.

Just 38% of people would take up the option of using their mobile phone on board, suggesting that passengers prefer the peace and quiet of a mobile-free zone.

The ability to chat online to friends and keep their fingers on the pulse is the key attraction of wi-fi access on aircraft.  Nearly two-thirds (60%) want to post messages on Facebook and Twitter as they fly.

Almost half (48%) said they would stream films or TV shows, giving them more control over what they watch while flying, while 15% said they would use the chance to stay in touch with the office to work.

Forty three per cent of those polled spend four or more hours watching films and TV on a 12-hour flight.

A quarter said they would not talk at all to any co-passengers to pass the time on a 12-hour flight.

While women are more likely to spend time chatting to their co-passengers during a long flight, it is men who’d be more likely to chat to friends over Skype while they travel.

Emirates already offers passengers in-flight wi-fi connectivity with its OnAir service, a move that more airlines look set to follow with Us carrier JetBlue’s decision to launch free on-board wi-fi next year.

Skyscanner spokeswoman Victoria Bailie said: “Traditionally we’d get on our flight, flick through the duty free brochure, choose a film, read a book or listen to music.

“Now, with the increasing availability of new in-flight technology, travellers want to stay connected with the outside world, rather than switch off, as they fly.

“However, while there’s a strong demand for wi-fi, there is more resistance to the rise of in-flight mobile calls.

“While we want to stay connected, it seems the thought of sitting next to someone chatting away and shouting ‘I’m on a plane’, isn’t going to top our list of in-flight entertainment anytime soon.”

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