Inflight WiFi Increasingly Important Post Pandemic
With travelers becoming increasingly attached to internet connectivity during the pandemic for entertainment and remote work, it’s not surprising that Inflight WiFi has become increasingly important. A recent survey by Inmarsat, however, puts in to context just HOW important.
The study showed that 39% of respondents though Inflight WiFi was MORE important post COVID-19 than before. 49% of respondents thought it was equally import.
Many Airlines used the pandemic as an opportunity to install or upgrade InFlight WiFi services. Normally the installation requires planes to be out of service for a short period time. With airline traffic still running about 50% of pre-pandemic levels, airlines have been able to use this opportunity to install more inflight services.
With some airline executives that I’ve spoken with, they’ve used the downtime to more quickly do installations. For others, they’ve been waiting until they know that an aircraft will be returning to use. But in all cases, they’re advancing. I have not yet seen a program where it has been put completely on the back burner because of the pandemic.– Dr. Joe Leader, CEO of Airline Passenger Experience Association
In addition to the airlines, Inflight WiFi operators have been working to expand their capabilities. Inmarsat noted they’ve tripled their available bandwidth according to a report in SimpleFlying.
For flyers the practical implication in the short term is likely more flights with WiFi capabilities rather than more speed. So be prepared to maximize the limited bandwidth available during flights.
Overall more connectivity on planes, trains and cars is positive for connected travelers. Carrier competition from companies like Starlink will likely further push providers and airlines to improve their services.