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According to a new study led by telecommunications company Inmarsat, the quality of in-flight WiFi is crucial to passenger satisfaction and loyalty. More than half of passengers believe that having a good WiFi connection is essential during a flight.  

Airlines need to pay attention to their WiFi connection, suggests a recent study published by telecommunications company Inmarsat. Of the 10,000 passengers surveyed worldwide, more than three quarters said that WiFi was “a necessity.” Being able to get online while on a flight is essential for 55% of those surveyed, reports Tom Travel.

 

Only one plane in four offers WiFi

 

Staying connected, both on the ground and in the air, has become a necessity for travellers. More than half of them say they would rather have internet access on a flight than a free drink, says the study. Business travellers agree: 90% of them say they would use WiFi on their next flight, if available, and 87% say they are more productive when they have internet access during their journey. 

Despite this high demand, both from business travellers and leisure passengers, only a quarter of all planes currently in circulation are equipped with WiFi. What is worse, less than 50% of passengers asked were able to get online during a flight in the last few months. 

 

The connections need improving

 

The problem with on-board WiFi is not only that it is often unavailable, but also that it can be poor quality: Inmarsat’s study showed that only 42% of North American passengers – where the most airlines offering in-flight WiFi are based – say they are satisfied and prepared to book with the airline again, simply thanks to connectivity. Furthermore, 54% of those surveyed would rather have no internet access at all than WiFi that does not work properly.

“This reinforces the need for airlines to provide a premium offering that genuinely improves the customer experience,” conclude Inmarsat, whose report shows that 70% of travellers would recommend an airline with a good WiFi connection, once they had tested it. 67% even say that they would favour an airline offering high-quality WiFi over others. This percentage rises to 81% among passengers travelling with children and 83% among business travellers.

 

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