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Welcome to BusinessClass.com

It could be a dealbreaker…

Which airlines offer inflight wifi?

19. October 2017

by Henrik Hanevold

High-quality inflight Wi-Fi is changing the way travellers spend their time in the air. Whether using the time to work, to connect with friends and family, or to pass time shopping or viewing entertainment, the availability of inflight internet has become a major factor when choosing an airline.

When it comes to offering their customers inflight WiFi, however, not every airline has taken the same stance. Leaders in this field – such as Lufthansa, which first introduced onboard internet a full 14 years ago – are the ones that have made strides to offer inflight connectivity solutions, while the trailing herd have made little effort and instead have chosen to focus on improving their inflight entertainment systems.

However, in today’s modern digital world – globally connected and 24-hour – inflight wifi is now considered not just a luxury but a necessity for many. In fact, some passengers are even willing to change airlines if inflight internet is not available, or worse – the wifi is slow.

That’s according to a new survey published by global satellite provider Inmarsat, which found that 52% of survey respondents said they would stop using their preferred airline if they offered “poor quality WiFi”.

The same survey also reports that 45% of passengers would pay for inflight Wi-Fi rather than use free onboard entertainment. This is going to help onboard internet become an estimated $130 billion (£98 billion) market for airlines by 2035, as predicted by the London School of Economics.

While inflight connectivity is a priority to so many travellers, at this moment in time most will be left frustrated when flying as currently only about only 25% of flights offer some form of wifi. This will soon change, however, as the introduction of a new generation of satellites will address current broadband quality challenges, such as low data limits and patchy connectivity, resulting in more flights with faster wifi.

Additionally, at an airline trade expo last month, movie streaming giant Netflix – which already provides Virgin America, Qantas and Aeromexico with free in-flight wifi – announced a new initiative that could bring faster wi-fi to a number airlines. Early next year, the company will be launching a new service called “Netflix Inflight 2.0″ which will provide better tools and info to airlines offering in-flight streaming media. Netflix reckons the new service will improve buffering times and help reduce bandwidth, meaning that airlines will be able to offer their customers certain inflight services as standard, including fast and reliable wifi.

In the meantime, here’s a breakdown of which airlines currently offer inflight wifi:

Free

– Emirates
– Qatar Airways
– JetBlue Airways
– Norwegian
– Turkish Airlines
– Air China
– China Eastern
– Nok Air
 

Paid

– Aer Lingus
– Aeroflot Russian Airlines
– Aerolineas Argentinas
– Aeromexico
– Air Berlin
– Air Canada
– Air France
– Alaskan Air
– All Nippon Airways
– American Airlines
– Atalia
– British Airways
– Cebu Pacific Air
– China Airlines
– Condor Flugdienst
– Delta Airlines
– Etihad
– EVA Air
– Finnair
– Frontier Airlines
– Garuda Indonesia
– Gulf Air
– Iberia
– Icelandair
– Japan Airlines
– Kenya Airways
– KLM Airlines
– Lufthansa
– Oman Air
– Philippine Airlines
– Qantas
– Saudi Airlines
– Scandinavian Airlines(SAS)
– Scoot Airlines
– Singapore Airlines
– Southwest Airlines
– SriLankan Airlines
– Swiss International Airlines
– TAM Airlines
– TAP Portugal
– Thai Airways
– United Airlines
– Virgin America
– Virgin Atlantic
– Vueling Airlines
– WestJet
Air New Zealand also recently announced the introduction of inflight wifi onboard its Boeing 777-300 fleet (rollout is expected to be completed by June 2018) and its Boeing 777-200 fleet (rolling out from April next year).