Survey reveals that free Wi-Fi is more important to passengers than food and legroom when it comes to air travel

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26th September 2023 19:11 - Transport and Distribution

Survey reveals that free Wi-Fi is more important to passengers than food and legroom when it comes to air travel: A global survey of plane passengers has revealed the most important factors when travelling by air, with free Wi-Fi being the most cited factor after the cost of a ticket. More than a fifth of people polled said an in-flight experience with free Wi-Fi was important (22%), putting it ahead of food and drink (18%), legroom (13%) and free entertainment (9%).

Passengers were also asked what would make them most likely to rebook with an airline, with 83% of respondents saying that quality Wi-Fi was a driver. The research also found that while passengers want Wi-Fi, many also want it at no additional cost, with half the respondents polled saying they would be less likely to connect to the in-flight system if they had to pay.

More eight in 10 passengers polled internationally said that they believe free Wi-fi should be offered on all long-haul flights, while half believe it should also be offered on short-haul flights. In order to benefit from reliable Wi-Fi, 89% of customers said they would be willing to make some sacrifices found the research, with 42% stating they would be open to seeing adverts, and 33% willing to surrender loyalty points for the privilege.

The 2023 Passenger Experience Survey by Viasat found that 29% of respondents said they were willing to pay a higher air fare in order to have access to free Wi-Fi.

The desire for free Wi-Fi has grown in a number of markets since last year's survey, found the research, with the demand increasing by 50% amongst U.S. travellers, while India and Brazil also saw  an increase (42% versus 35%).

Jimmy Dodd, SVP and President, Global Enterprise and Mobility at Viasat, said: “These findings give us a fascinating insight into the minds of passengers at a critical time for the aviation sector.

“It is encouraging to see passenger numbers close to pre-COVID levels; and the 2023 Passenger Experience Survey shows how quickly travellers have adopted to digital nativism, including expectations for free, fast Wi-Fi and edge-of-your-seat experiences, like live TV and live sport at 30,000 feet.”

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