In-Flight Wi-Fi Not Taking Off?

It’s been about two years now that airlines have been offering the web in the air. Wi-Fi  is currently available in about one-third of the U.S. fleet of planes, according to USA Today. But, only 10 percent of passengers are using it.

But Aircell, provider of the biggest in-flight Wi-Fi program, Gogo, isn’t concerned. In fact they say that those 10 percent are mostly repeat users, thereby proving the quality of experience. Aircell told us that 61 percent of Gogo customers have used their service again within three months. A company spokesperson said, “We’re thrilled with our usage rates to date. Gogo usage continues to grow as more and more aircraft are equipped with Gogo, giving more consumers the chance to utilize it, making plane time their time.”

“Me” time or not, 10 percent doesn’t exactly make the case for an overwhelming need, and that could be a reflection of the cost.

Aircell is available on Air Canada, Air Tran, Alaska Airways, American Airlines, Continental Airways, Delta Airways, Frontier Airways, United Airlines, US Airways, and Virgin America, boasting availability on 3,500 flights per day. Gogo costs $4.95 on flights of up to 90 minutes, $9.95 for flights of up to three hours, and $12.95 on longer flights. Plus, there’s now a monthly option for use on all carriers with GoGo for $34.95. Seemingly perfect for business travelers, it’s unfortunate that some companies are refusing to reimburse their employees for in-flight Wi-Fi expenses, according to Business Travel News, which could also be putting a damper on usage.

Analyst firm In-Stat predicts that a drop in fees, by as much as 24 percent, is on the horizon before 2014. Their recent report also says the airlines may start to provide in-flight video via the web, as a way to boost revenue. It’s unclear if this could mean an additional fee for streaming video. Regardless, they feel revenue from in-flight Internet services will increase by 1,357 percent over the next four years, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. But first they’ll need to get more people to use it.

Anna Attkisson
Anna Attkisson
A lover of lists and deadlines, Anna Attkisson covers apps, social networking, tablets, chromebooks and accessories. She loves each of her devices equally, including the phablet, three tablets, three laptops and desktop. She joined the Laptop Mag staff in 2007, after working at Time Inc. Content Solutions where she created custom publications for companies from American Express to National Parks Foundation.
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  1. J Says:

    The only time I went on a flight with wifi on it and it didn’t work!

    They really ought to put it on international long haul flights. Okay I am sure there is a problem when you are flying over oceans but for example the Atlanta to London flight plan is over land for 4 or so hours. It would really make the time go by a little faster.

    Please please please airlines and gogo!!!!

  2. Tony Says:

    Even a dialup connection speed is better than nothing, but eventually this will be for free so a lot of people will use it because almost nobody wants to pay for that like you say.

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