Earlier this summer, Airlines for America (A4A) predicted that airline travel would reach an all time high with a predicted growth of 3.7 percent over the summer months. For the recent U.S. Labor Day holiday, travel was predicted to reach 16.5 million passengers flying over the three day period. With the increase in passengers flying, how does an airline compete for business? A recent study found that passenger loyalty hinges on the connectivity experience. In fact, two thirds of passengers would be more likely to fly with an airline again if they experienced a high-quality inflight Wi-Fi experience.

The Inflight Connectivity Survey is in its fourth year and is published by the global mobile satellite communications provider, Inmarsat, and market research company Populus. The survey collected responses from more than 9,300 passengers from across 32 countries, and is one of the largest global surveys of passenger attitudes. Among its findings, the survey highlighted that connectivity was critical to the passenger experience and is ingrained into everyday life. Seventy-eight percent of respondents noted that Wi-Fi was “fundamental” to their lives and 55 percent agreed that the connectivity on the ground was as crucial in the skies, and key to improving passenger experience and driving passenger loyalty to an airline provider.

“Wi-Fi is essential to daily life on the ground, and airline passengers see no reason why their time on a flight should be restricted or spent any differently,” said Philip Balaam, President of Inmarsat Aviation. “Whether it’s used for sending that important work email, entertaining the children, or even connecting with fellow passengers, staying online is becoming a crucial part of the inflight experience for today’s airline passengers.”

In fact, 67 percent of passengers surveyed said that they would be more likely to re-book an airline if they have a positive, high-quality, Wi-Fi experience. According to the survey, the other factors that impact passenger loyalty include airline reputation, free checked baggage, and extra leg room, followed by Wi-Fi connectivity. However, quality of Wi-Fi is key. Seventy-four percent of business travelers agree that Wi-Fi is crucial and 9 in 10 of these passengers stated that they could be productive and work on the plane if Wi-Fi was available. Eighty-one percent of passengers would use in-flight Wi-Fi on their next flight if it was available, with the business traveler rising to 90 percent and 18-30 year olds rising to 91 percent.

Interestingly, a spotty connection would not be acceptable according to passengers, with any stating that no Wi-Fi was better than poor quality service.

To read the full survey results, visit https://www.inmarsat.com/aviation/commercial-aviation/in-flight-connectivity-survey/

Shany Seawright

About Shany Seawright

A senior executive at Strategic Communications Group and Managing Editor of Connected Aviation Today, as well as other publications, Seawright oversees the editorial direction of the publication and managed the editorial staff.