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Would you give up an amenity for on-board Wi-Fi?

Would you give up an amenity for on-board Wi-Fi?
4 Mar 2014

With Wi-Fi connections becoming ever more ubiquitous and regulators having recently relaxed their rules on the use of electronic devices on-board, an increasing number of airlines are looking to offer in-flight internet connections. 

Currently less than 10% of airlines provide their passengers with Wi-Fi, but US-based aviation manufacturer Honeywell Aerospace estimates that this figure will grow to 25% by 2018.

And a recent survey by the company suggests demand from passengers is high, with 90% of those questioned saying that they would be prepared to forgo an amenity, such as free drinks or better seats, for the ability to get connected. 

However, this figure conflicts with a follow-up study conducted by the Sydney Morning Herald Traveller, which revealed that an overwhelming 77% of people would not be prepared to give up these creature comforts. 

This is not the first time surveys have revealed a lack of consensus among passengers over the merits of on-board technology. 

Mobile phone use is a topic of considerable debate, with many opposed to the idea of having to listen to other people engaged in loud conversation while trapped in the confines of an aircraft cabin. For some, plane journeys offer a rare chance to escape from technology for a few hours, and the temptation to text, call and engage in social media is not welcomed. 

The level of resistance to in-flight calls in particular appears to be correlated to passengers' frequency of flying, with a recent Associated Press-GfK poll revealing that 78% of those who have taken four or more flights in the past year are opposed to allowing in-flight calls, compared to 59% among those who've taken one or more flights in the past year.

While allowing calls remains up for debate, texting is already here, with Lufthansa having announced that it will be rolling out mobile connectivity across its entire long-haul fleet of more than 100 aircraft this year, allowing passengers to send SMSs and browse the internet. ADNFCR-408-ID-801700143-ADNFCR

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