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Survey Indicates Passengers Value WiFi More Than Comfort

Honeywell Aerospace released a survey that signals a shift among consumers in the definition of airplane passenger comfort and confirms an increasing demand for global, transoceanic, fast and consistent in-flight wireless connectivity. The research was conducted among more than 3,000 adults in the United Kingdom, United States and Singapore who have used Wi-Fi within the past 12 months.
Comfort Redefined
For most travelers, the current commercial flight experience can be summarized in one word: crowded. Crowded flights and cramped seats have become the norm. According to the Honeywell survey, however, almost 90 percent of fliers would give up an amenity on their flight — preferred seats, extra legroom and more — to be guaranteed a faster and more consistent wireless connection. This finding potentially alters how passengers define comfort on flights.
The survey indicated:
  • More than one-third of Americans and Singaporeans and nearly half of Britons who would give up an amenity would give up a preferred seat for a better Internet connection.
  • Almost two-thirds of passengers would rather have access to fast in-flight Wi-Fi that allows them to stream video and music than sit in their preferred seat.
  • More than three in four fliers surveyed think wireless access should always be available on planes. And when it comes to the current in-flight Wi-Fi experience, passengers want the type of consistency and speed experienced at home or in the office, especially on transoceanic or international flights.
  • In-flight Wi-Fi service causes frustrations for nearly nine in ten users worldwide. Inconsistent or slow connections disappoint fliers most.
  • More than one-third of passengers surveyed would be disappointed if in-flight Wi-Fi was not available on an international flight or over an ocean.
Survey results also indicate that travelers use Wi-Fi for personal rather than professional reasons. Almost three-quarters of Americans (73 percent) and two-thirds of Britons (63 percent) and Singaporeans (61 percent) simply want the option to be connected.
More respondents say they use in-flight connectivity predominantly for personal purposes (55 percent U.S., 42 percent U.K., 40 percent Singapore), while fewer (22 percent U.S., 30 percent U.K., 29 percent Singapore) use it mostly for professional reasons.
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