SITA report shows passengers want to use own devices

Passenger using a laptop on board an aircraft
A passenger using a laptop in flight. Image: Emirates.

Around half of all global passengers say they would definitely use their own smartphone, tablet or laptop for in-flight entertainment (IFE).

That’s the message in a new SITA report entitled “The Future is Personal”.

It goes on to say they would be happy using their own device for sending and receiving emails and text messages, buying refreshments or browsing a virtual duty free shop.

When it comes to entertainment onboard, 63% of passengers expressed a clear preference to use their own devices (compared with 55% who would definitely use an airline device for entertainment).

The majority would use live flight information and stay in touch via email/text communications.

However, the bulk of passengers are not comfortable with making phone calls in flight.

Despite a lower level of interest in making purchases in-flight, almost half of global passengers say they would use some time during the flight to plan their trip and buy destination services.

With in excess of 12,900 commercial aircraft expected to provide in-flight connectivity to passengers by 2023, according to EuroConsult, the SITA report says the opportunity to offer a bespoke experience in the air will be significant.

When they are sitting in their airline seat, today’s connected passengers are keen to continue their lives just as if they were relaxing at home or working in the office, it says.

A rapid escalation in airlines offering in-flight connectivity services is expected over the coming three years. Today, most of these facilities are a minority provision, offered by a third or less of all airlines.

However, by the end of 2017, the majority of them are set to roll out onboard connectivity, internet access/Wi-Fi via passengers’ own mobile devices, voice, text and data services via passengers’ mobile devices, and wireless IFE.

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