Would You Change Airlines, Give up Legroom or Buy a More-Expensive Ticket to Get In-Flight Wi-Fi?



A survey sponsored by Honeywell claims a significant percentage of fliers would switch airlines, switch flights, pay more or give up amenties such as preferred seating or legroom to get access to Wi-Fi in flight that is consistent and faster.

According to Honeywell, about 22 percent of respondents to a survey say they’ve paid more for a flight with in-flight Wi-Fi, even if a less-costly flight was available.

Some 17 percent of respondents claim they switched from their preferred airline because another carrier had better Wi-Fi offerings.

The 2013 Wireless Connectivity survey found that almost 90 percent of fliers would give up an amenity on their flight--preferred seats, extra legroom and more--to be guaranteed a faster and more consistent wireless connection.

Some might say the findings actually are mostly theoretical. The problem many fliers experience with in-flight Wi-Fi is precisely the inability to predict speed and persistence of connections.

And since so many airlines use the same supplier, switching carriers is not going to help.

In principle, one might agree that some travelers, some of the time, might have switched carriers, flights, paid higher ticket prices or given up a preferred seat to get what they hoped would be a better Wi-Fi experience.

More often, one might argue, Wi-Fi was simply a byproduct of some other important choice, such as flight departure time or day, and fare basis.

That in-flight Wi-Fi is valuable is not the point. The point is the inconsistency, dropped connections and sluggish performance.
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