Routehappy releases latest 2017 inflight Wi-Fi report

Passenger using a laptop with inflight Wi-Fi on board an aircraft
A passenger using a laptop and inflight Wi-Fi. Image: Emirates.

Routehappy has released its 2017 inflight Wi-Fi report that shows more than 70 airlines now offer the inflight connectivity service.

It says in-flight Wi-Fi has come a long way since its inception a decade ago.

New advances in technology mean more flyers have access to Wi-Fi than ever before. Routehappy’s Wi-Fi data tracks which airlines offer in-flight Wi-Fi as well as its availability to consumers by chance, quality, coverage, and cost, tracked by subfleet, cabin, and flight.

It says it provides the most comprehensive look at in-flight Wi-Fi across the 70+ airlines that now offer it.

Routehappy says the industry has made great strides since last year’s report, with more aircraft connected than ever before, including 11 airlines that now offer in-flight Wi-Fi for the first time.

As of January 2017, 39% of available seat miles (ASMs) worldwide have at least a chance of Wi-Fi on board, an 8% increase over last year.

The ASMs with at least a chance of Wi-Fi jumps to 83% when looking strictly at US-based airlines, a 6% increase over last year.

More inflight Wi-Fi

The report says airline passengers now have a greater chance of stepping on board a Wi-Fi-equipped flight than they did last year, with 39% of available seat miles (ASMs) worldwide having at least a chance of Wi-Fi, up from 36%.

Putting it into perspective, that is an increase of more than one billion available seat miles per day with at least a chance of Wi-Fi compared with last year.

It expects a greater increase in 2017 — several major airlines decided on Wi-Fi systems in 2016 with plans to roll them out in 2017, while others have already begun a rollout.

Comparing 2016 to 2017 shows that there has been a dramatic shift away from basic Wi-Fi systems to faster ones, signaling that airlines are listening to customer feedback to improve Wi-Fi connectivity.

For example, Delta is already on its third-generation Wi-Fi system on many of its aircraft, moving from Gogo ATG to ATG-4 and now to 2Ku in just a few years.

Singapore Airlines offers basic Inmarsat SwiftBroadband L-band Wi-Fi on some aircraft, better satellite Wi-Fi on others, and will be installing Inmarsat’s faster Ka-band GX Aviation Wi-Fi system shortly.

Routehappy says the best Wi-Fi today can be found on JetBlue and some United flights.

Gogo’s 2Ku system has recently launched with multiple major global airlines including Delta, Aeromexico, and Virgin Atlantic.

Inmarsat’s GX for Aviation is also in the beginning stages of going live to passengers on Lufthansa.

Inmarsat/Deutsche Telekom’s high-speed air-to-ground European Aviation Network (EAN) is being built throughout the European Union and UK, and British Airways will use this, starting in mid-2017.

SAS and Finnair have also signed ViaSat for European Wi-Fi. All these systems are pending installation in thousands of aircraft. It says while equipment installation will take years to complete, by the end of 2017 flyers will see a big increase of Wi-Fi available to them.

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