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U.S. Travelers Love In-Flight Wi-Fi

Travelers Today       By    Katie McFadden

Updated: Jul 06, 2012 01:15 PM EDT

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British Airways is one of the airlines that offers in-flight internet connections.(Photo : Reuters)

There are many situations where people wish they had a Wi-Fi connection, especially while traveling. Many airlines now have Wi-Fi connections and travelers are loving it, a new survey shows.

The survey conducted by IMS Research found that more than 60 percent of travelers who have used in-flight Wi-Fi are likely to use it again in the future.

The survey showed that more than 40 percent of respondents have used Wi-Fi on a plane in the last year. Some people tried it as part of a promotion, but some paid for the service. The 67 percent of travelers who paid for in-flight Wi-Fi are most likely to use the service again. Twelve percent said they wouldn't pay to use the service in the future. However, the survey found that people are generally favorable towards Wi-Fi service on planes.

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"In-flight Wi-Fi is not new, but still poses a major investment dilemma for airlines already squeezed by rising costs," says Rose Yin, market analyst with IMS Research. "Apart from the usual issues of choosing the right connectivity solution for the airline and overcoming any bandwidth limitations, one of the main concerns is whether airlines can get a return on this investment. So far, it has been hard to make much additional profit from offering in-flight Wi-Fi for airlines, particularly as it's not always clear which passengers are willing to pay for it."

Most survey respondents were not fazed by the cost of in-flight Wi-Fi. Seventy percent of those who paid to use it thought it was a good value for the price. The survey also found that a third of respondents have chosen to fly on a specific airline just because it offered in-flight internet. Another third who didn't look for a Wi-Fi supporting airline said that they would consider doing so in the future.

"If we assume that the potential users of in-flight Wi-Fi will be similar to those in the U.S., then we can expect them to be those under the age of 45, male, and carrying a laptop PC on-board, where the average paying user might also come from a household with close to $90,000 of annual income," Yin added.

 "Of course, you will also need to consider what other forms of in-flight entertainment are available. The survey told us that most people were using in-flight Wi-Fi for leisure purposes, which may be a result of a lack of a comparable entertainment system on-board. The take-up rate might be different if a personal in-flight entertainment system is offered for free, as many long-haul flights do," Yin said.


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