What do we want? On-board internet! When do we want it? NOW!

The young folk have spoken – 75% of 18 to 24 year olds would like access to the internet on board all flights, with only 13% of all adult age groups disliking the idea.

Tech firm FirstSource asked 2,000 UK adults whether they would like to have in-flight internet if it was free or “at a reasonable cost” (it didn’t ask WHAT they would be willing to pay).

Exactly half of the respondents said they would like access on flights, with 32% of over-55s giving the idea the thumbs-up.

Of the 13% that scoffed at the idea, two-thirds said they did not want to be disturbed by emails or be expected to respond when they are travelling by air.

While the some airlines, especially in the US, are starting to introduce such services, in Europe carriers are so far much slower to launch web connectivity for passengers.

Research firm In-Stat reckons the carriers in the US that have started offering internet access are expected to capture around $225 million in connection charges during 2012, a sizeable jump from the $155 million collected in 2011.

The number of passengers in the US using such services is likely to hit 10% this year, up from 4% in 2010 and 8% in 2011.

NB: Mobile aircraft image via Shutterstock.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.



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  1. Steve O'Lear

    Like having mobile service in flight, internet access could be disrupting to others depending on activity. But what’s wrong with a little down time from the immediate access world? Not that folks need to prepare for getting marooned an a desert island but the young adults need to disconnect, read, or perhaps socialize in person with fellow passengers. Learn to be civil without the curtain of the web.

  2. David Chapple

    I was on a Norwegian Flight Gatwick Oslo last Friday and was using their free WiFi to do my work emails and even held a a twitter conversation. The speed was excellent and all around me people were using their smart phones to Facebook. Definitely the way forward.

  3. Bruce Sweigert

    The answer to any similar question asked – if you would like a service if it was offered “for free or for a reasonable price” – most likely the answer will be “yes”.

    The important question is how the business case can be built.

  4. Robert Gilmour

    Jus afte I penned that last lot, in came this – http://www.hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/mobile_travel_in_europe_needs_more_time/

    Sorry? Time? No we don’t do that!

    Actually the findings of that article are quite surprising

  5. Robert Gilmour


    Does the immediacy or speed of information lead to better travel decisions, or is it compromised by the increasing choice/complexity (not always good) of travel research and booking?

    Speed/immediacy these days is an infatuation, its seen as essential for efficiency, indeed almost synonymous with efficency &c &c – i’m not so sure.

    There are countless practical examples where speed (and our thirst for it, and internet everywhere, immediately) – a simple classic case is uge visual impacts on websites whcih invariably slow site loading speed, sometimes considerably, hence compromising efficiency/user experience.

    This obseesion with internet (and related technology) everywhere, speed and immediacy, if unbridled, will potentaill not only become a farce, but breed a society of morons.

    I think i’ll open a hotel as respite/relaxation for the internet/device and ‘speed of’ fatigued, it will have no internet, no wi fi, as little technology as possible, run using that rare commodity, common sense (which certainly isn’t ‘immediate!e’) – and i’ll SEO it as fully as i can for all the terms not related to hotels but to technpology, internet, mobile, social media &c


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