What Passengers Demand from In-Flight Wi-Fi
In its second annual survey, Honeywell Aerospace (NYSE: HON) finds that in-flight Wi-Fi is becoming increasingly influential on a passenger’s buying and wireless usage behavior, including flight selections and, in some cases, paying more for a specific flight.
Following up on the 2013 Wireless Connectivity survey, and as the popularity of staying wirelessly connected grows, the 2014 Honeywell survey affirms that fliers expect constant and speedy Wi-Fi when traveling.
The research was conducted by Kelton among more than 1,000 adults in the United States who have used Wi-Fi on planes within the past 12 months.
“You can pack your own meals, but you can’t pack your own Wi-Fi,” said Jack Jacobs, vice president, Marketing and Product Management, Honeywell Aerospace. “Honeywell’s survey affirms that consumers are accustomed to easy access to Wi-Fi, and they expect it to be fast and consistent like at home or work. Those expectations are expanding up into the sky.”
Connectivity is Crucial
The results also indicate that fliers believe wireless connectivity should always be a part of the in-flight experience, and it may even be viewed as a necessity:
- In-flight Wi-Fi availability influences flight selection for 66 percent of passengers.
- Nearly one in four (22 percent) admitted they’ve paid more for a flight with Wi-Fi, and close to one in five (17 percent) have switched from their preferred airline because another carrier had better Wi-Fi offerings.
- Demand is so strong that 37 percent would be upset if they didn’t have Wi-Fi access on their next flight, which is about the same amount (35 percent) as those who would be disappointed about not having food or drinks available for purchase.
- Eighty-five percent would use Wi-Fi on most or all flights if it was free.
Sacrifice for Speed
Constant accessibility is key, but passengers also desire fast connections that enable them to stream videos, live chat with friends and family, and download files quickly. Almost half the respondents would be willing to experience a travel-related inconvenience for Wi-Fi that’s as fast as it is at home. From this group:
- Over two in five (45 percent) of these people would endure airport security twice.
- More than one in three (34 percent) would show up three hours before boarding time for superior speed.
- Twenty-nine percent would even swap their ticket to fly standby on a plane with Wi-Fi that’s as fast as it is at home.
Fun with Wi-Fi
The Honeywell survey results asserted that air passengers demand constant and speedy Wi-Fi and also explored why passengers desire it so much. Consistent connectivity can enable productivity, entertainment and a little bit of fun:
- Thirty-nine percent received personal or general breaking news in-flight.
- Close to one in five (19 percent) have used in-flight Wi-Fi to plan their next vacation.
- Nine percent of respondents pretended they were in the office while on vacation.
Fliers are keeping themselves entertained onboard with Wi-Fi and, interestingly, the survey found that over half (54 percent) say they would be embarrassed if an in-flight neighbor saw what they were doing for fun, including: The Honeywell survey results asserted that air passengers demand constant and speedy Wi-Fi and also explored why passengers desire it so much. Consistent connectivity can enable productivity, entertainment and a little bit of fun:
- Fifty percent would be embarrassed if someone saw them perusing a dating site.
- Thirty-two percent would be embarrassed if they were caught watching cat videos.
- Thirty percent would not want to be seen watching children’s movies.
The Honeywell Aerospace Wi-Fi Survey was conducted between June 6 and June 19, 2014, among 1,045 Americans age 18 and over who have used in-flight Wi-Fi in the last 12 months, using an email invitation and an online survey by Kelton, a leading global insights firm. The survey results were announced Tuesday, July 22.