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Wi-Fi on Airlines: Honeywell Survey Finds Huge Demand

The Today show today included a tidbit about a recent Honeywell Aerospace-sponsored survey on the public’s view of Wi-Fi on airplanes. No doubt Honeywell is a provider of the equipment for this connectivity so a poll sponsored by them might have some biases like the previously mentioned polls by CEA and NAB on home use of over the air (OTA) TV. But the graphic shown at the top was truly fascinating!

In a press release and a paragraph entitled “Comfort Redefined” Honeywell wrote:

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 Connections, Please

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.

As we have written previously, when FCC proposed using cell phones on commercial flights in Docket 04-435 it was buried under a tsunami of consumer protests ( 8,123 comments filed in total) and beat a quick retreat from the proposal on obscure technical issues.

Now we know that cell phone use and Wi-Fi are cross elastic with the right hardware and Skype software. But if the Honeywell survey is even vaguely correct, it is amazing what a resonance Wi-Fi use in aircraft has hit!

1985 FCC Approval of Band that is the Home of Wi-Fi

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