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.