Remember the days when flying long distance meant at least nine guaranteed hours offline?
Of course you don’t, your brain is far too frazzled by constantly having to check Facebook and emails.
According to new statistics released this week by air industry data cruncher Routehappy, flying without Wi-Fi access is becoming increasingly rare as more airlines connect their customers.
This is good news for anyone who needs to Instagram their inflight meal or fabricate Twitter spats with imaginary passengers.
Bad news for those who need to unjack themselves from the Matrix for long enough to watch a weepy movie and re-balance their blood-Smirnoff levels.
According to Routehappy, there’s now a 24% chance your international flight will have Wi-Fi access. On domestic U.S. flights the odds rise to 66% — a figure nearly triple what it was 18 months ago.
Connection quality and speed are also improving, it reports.
“Wi-Fi is one of the most sought-after new amenities fliers want to access on their flights, and there has been significant investment by airlines since our last report,” says Routehappy CEO Robert Albert.
“Coverage is starting to be meaningful on flights worldwide, along with a wide variety of speeds, coverage availability and pricing models, including free of charge.”
Internationally, Nordic airlines are leading the connectivity charge, with Icelandair and Norwegian both offering Wi-Fi on more than 80% of their flights. (The number of flights this represents isn’t specified.)
The next four — Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa and Iberia — currently only supply it to between 40-60% of flights.
Aeroflot, Emirates and Japan Airlines are in the 20-30% range, while Qatar Airways, Thai Airways and Turkish Airlines score between 15 and 20%.
For U.S. airlines, Delta leads the game, offering Wi-Fi across more than 3,500 of its daily flights.
Routehappy doesn’t offer any comparative statistics between U.S. and international operators.
By Barry Neild