More Airlines have Wi-Fi but Most Passengers Don't Connect

The ReadWrite site has a nice round-up of North American carriers that offer Wi-Fi on planes, so passengers can peruse the internet. But do passengers really want to?

Live TV coming to Southwest

Airlines with Wi-Fi on All Planes

First things first, though. The good news is, most U.S. airlines offer some Wi-Fi but some have more service than others.

Airlines with Wi-Fi on Some Planes

Many if not most of these carriers say they plan to continue adding service.

  • American – Wi-Fi on all 767-200 and 737 planes (and some others)
  • Alaska – on most planes for flights over the lower 48 states
  • Delta – Wi-Fi on most domestic flights
  • Frontier – Wi-Fi on Embraer 190 planes
  • Southwest – Wi-Fi on more than two-thirds of its planes, expansion continues
  • United – Wi-Fi on many transcontinental flights and more is coming
  • US Airways – Wi-Fi on Airbus 321s and more is coming

Also, Air Canada has some Wi-Fi but mostly on flights over the U.S.

Great airports for social media

Airline with No Wi-Fi – Yet

At the moment, JetBlue does not have Wi-Fi but it’s coming this year. As its website notes, “We’re on track to deliver the airline industry’s first inflight broadband service in Summer 2013 through a partnership with ViaSat.” FareCompare points out that despite not having Wi-Fi, JetBlue routinely tops ‘best airline’ lists, again and again. Which brings us to our next point.

Find cheap flights now – with or without Wi-Fi

Do Passengers Want Wi-Fi?

Although many passengers say they want Wi-Fi, one report estimates that only about 5% to 10% of travelers actually use it. In fact, the Australian carrier Qanta recently dropped its experimental internet service due to low demand.

Even some business travelers say no thanks to Wi-Fi.  Their reasons:

  • Wi-Fi on planes can be slow
  • It can be relatively expensive (though prices typically start at around $6 for short flights)
  • Travelers say they just want to ‘unplug’ and relax

Question to readers: Do you use Wi-Fi when flying, and why or why not?

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Published: April 5, 2013