July 21, 2024

Inflight Wi-Fi is the ‘most influential factor’, survey reveals

There is a growing passenger demand for inflight Wi-Fi, according to a survey by Viasat.

Viasat surveyed more than 11,000 people who have travelled by air in the last 12 months.

Its 2023 Passenger Experience Survey found that 83% of travellers are more likely to rebook with an airline that offers quality Wi-Fi. 

With 81% of respondents citing inflight connectivity as important to their onboard experience, it is not surprising that 22% also voted it as the ‘most influential factor’ when choosing an airline. Free food and drink is close behind at 18%, followed by legroom (13%) and entertainment (9%).

The survey highlighted that 29% of respondents are willing to pay more for their ticket to benefit from free Wi-Fi. 81% say they would pay for access to live sport during a flight, with the FIFA World Cup the most popular choice (45%), followed by the Olympics (28%) and the NBA (25%). 

In the US, demand for free inflight connectivity has increased by 50% since Viasat’s 2022 survey. India and Brazil saw bolsters of 42% and 35% respectively. Half of passengers believe that Wi-Fi should be free on all short-haul flights, while 82% think the same for long-haul journeys.

89% are willing to make some sacrifices too, such as seeing advertisements (42%) and giving up alcoholic beverages (34%) or loyalty points (33%). 

Jimmy Dodd, SVP & President: Global Enterprise & Mobility at Viasat, said: “These findings give us a fascinating insight into the minds of passengers at a critical time for the aviation sector. It is encouraging to see passenger numbers close to pre-COVID levels. The 2023 Passenger Experience Survey shows how quickly travelers have adopted to digital nativism, including expectations for free, fast Wi-Fi and edge-of-your-seat experiences, like live TV and live sport at 30,000 feet.”