It looks like the days of turning off our mobile devices on aircraft could one day be behind us as the demand grows for passenger in-flight wifi connectivity. Many passengers now want to tweet their journey or update Facebook statuses as they fly, posting photos of the clouds, their meals or cities from the air. Social networking, as we all know, is huge and in-flight wifi is a necessary fuel for that fire.
Recent surveys show that a quarter of British holidaying passengers out of 5,000 believe that free in-flight wifi is not only necessary, but a human right, according to HolidayExtras, although it is also recorded that 84% of these passengers are unwilling to pay the current high rates charged for in-flight wifi.
Now that the US FAA declared the use of the new models of mobile phones and device safe to use in ‘airplane mode,’ the floodgates are open in terms of demand for cheaper, faster in-flight wifi connectivity and this leaves many airlines thinking about the possibilities for revenue versus the inevitable costs involved with upgrades to their existing equipment.
Within the next few years, Inmarsat, the British satellite communications network, will be launching three new satellites, which will give global connectivity possibilities and could spell faster and cheaper in-flight wifi, but, until then, with only four commercial airlines currently offering free in-flight wifi, competition is slim and the cost implications for the passenger still high.
While business passengers enjoy the versatility of in-flight wifi, it looks to be a while before the demand is met for the average holidaymaker.