DUBAI: In-flight Wi-Fi has come a long way since its inception a decade ago. New advances in technology mean more flyers have access to Wi-Fi than ever before.
The industry has made great strides since last year’s report, with more aircraft connected than ever before, including 11 airlines that now offer in-flight Wi-Fi for the first time.
According to Routehappy’s 2017 Wi-Fi Report, as of January 2017, 39% of available seat miles (ASMs) worldwide have at least a chance of Wi-Fi on board, an 8% increase over last year. The ASMs with at least a chance of Wi-Fi jumps to 83% when looking strictly at U.S.-based airlines, a 6% increase over last year.
Every airline in the top 20 offering Wi-Fi added ASMs with at least a chance of Wi-Fi in 2016, though some gains were more modest than others. United and Delta made large gains as they wrapped up widebody aircraft installation programs. Virgin America, an early Wi-Fi adopter, recently launched hybrid Ku/Ka satellite Wi-Fi on flights to Hawaii, bringing the airline back up to offering Wi-Fi on 100% of its flights. Emirates and American already had strong coverage and continued to add ASMs with Wi-Fi.
Best Wi-Fi today are found on JetBlue and some United flights, next-generation systems are now rapidly coming online, with major airline commitments announced more regularly than in prior years.