Posted on: 14 January 2016 by Mark Howells
Routehappy has released its annual ‘Global State of In-Flight Wi-Fi’ report, commenting that while 2014 was “the year in-flight Wi-Fi took off worldwide,” 2015 saw more airlines than ever before commit to in-flight connectivity (IFC) and “breathe life into the quality and speed of Wi-Fi.”
While 60 airlines across the globe now offer in-flight Wi-Fi, with flyers having at least some chance of IFC on 36% of available seat miles (ASMs) worldwide, Routehappy says passengers are three times more likely to have access to in-flight internet in the US. The company states US airlines offer Wi-Fi on 78% of their ASMs system-wide, whereas non-US airlines only offer the chance of IFC on 24%.
According to Routehappy, Virgin America remains the only US airline with Wi-Fi on nearly 100% of its flights, bar a few flights to and from Hawaii (which will be addressed during 2016), but Delta, American and United offer the most ASMs with Wi-Fi of all airlines, with Delta only slightly in the lead.
Last year, the best Wi-Fi connectivity was available on just under 1% of US flights. That number has since grown to 6% of in-flight Wi-Fi offered worldwide today thanks to United’s IFC rollout which remains, for now, the only US major with best connectivity. Routehappy does concede that this number is soon likely to increase, with more airlines interested in offering best connectivity due to growing passenger demand.
United also offers the most long-haul ASMs (>2800 miles) with at least a chance of Wi-Fi among the three major US airlines. However, of all airlines worldwide its Emirates leading the pack on long-haul routes, offering nearly double the long-haul ASMs with a chance of Wi-Fi compared to any other airline (measured by number of ASMs and percentage of ASMs respectively). Elsewhere, Lufthansa has rolled out in-flight Wi-Fi on all of its long-haul routes.
Finally, Routehappy claims New York to Dubai is the most connected of the world's busiest long-haul routes, and London to Hong Kong is the least connected.
The report proves what the industry seems to wholeheartedly agree on: that IFC is here to stay.