FlightView From the Sky

In-Flight Wi-Fi, When and How Do You Buy?

Posted by Amanda Rogers on May 14, 2013 @ 11:47 AM


in flight wifi Do you Wi-Fi when you fly? On a flight from D.C. to Boston last weekend with our antsy toddler, I seriously considered coughing up the cash for in-flight internet service even though we’d only be in the air a short time. But the weird thing is, it didn’t cross my mind to purchase Wi-Fi until the flight attendant made the announcement that it was available. It seems I was on the same page as many of our respondents in a recent FlightView traveler survey where 71% of travelers hadn’t purchased add-on services like Wi-Fi via an airline’s mobile website or app, but almost 60% would consider it if a notification was pushed to their device before boarding.

In-flight wi-fi options

If you decide you can’t live without an Internet connection at 30,000 feet, what are your options? For leisure or sporadic travelers, most airlines offer per-flight rates. Some providers even offer hourly rates if you’re only going to want a connection for part of the flight. Gogo, a popular in-flight Wi-Fi provider, offers an all-day pass if you have connecting flights or multiple same-day flights. Frequent fliers can sign up for automatically renewing monthly subscriptions, with a separate price for those using lots of data. Some airlines offer annual subscriptions for hardcore road warriors who feel the need to be constantly connected to a mobile device or laptop.

Future airline wi-fi plans

So, there are lots of options for purchasing in-flight Internet, but some travelers complain they’re not getting their money’s worth due to poor availability across an airline’s fleet or slow connections if many passengers are online at the same time. Good news – the FCC is looking into freeing up more wireless spectrum for Wi-Fi on domestic flights, which means the service will be more widely available, faster and eventually cheaper. That supersized service could mean the ability to stream high-definition TV shows and movies to make flights pass quickly – something I (and my toddler) can definitely get on board with.

Topics: airlines, ancillary, mobile, wifi, technology, app

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