Eighty-two airlines worldwide now offer WiFi, an increase
from 70 airlines a year ago.
Meanwhile, the availability of high-speed WiFi more than
doubled in 2017, according to the Routehappy 2018 WiFi report, which the
airline merchandising platform provider released Tuesday morning.
Airlines now offer passengers a chance to enjoy what
Routehappy calls "Best WiFi" on 16% of the world's available seat
miles. By comparison, Best WiFi was available on just 7.2% of seat miles a year
The 129% jump, said Routehappy director of airline research Jason
Rabinowitz, is a result of in-flight WiFi providers Gogo and Inmarsat becoming
significant players in the high-speed WiFi market, which was previously
dominated by Viasat through its largest airline customer, JetBlue.
Now, Delta operates more than 350 aircraft equipped with
Gogo's high-speed 2KU product and American, Alaska, British Airways and Iberia
are also fitting planes with 2KU. Meanwhile, Lufthansa Group, which includes Lufthansa,
Swiss Air, Austrian Airlines and Eurowings, launched the high-speed Global
Xpress service offered by Inmarsat in 2017.
Routehappy defines Best WiFi as a service that is capable of
advance streaming of movies and other media, similar to what one would expect
The worldwide availability of all WiFi, including slower
offerings dubbed by Routehappy as "Better WiFi" and "Basic WiFi,"
now stands at 43% of available seat miles, up from 39% a year ago. U.S.
carriers, which have always led the way in adoption rates, now have WiFi fully
installed on 85% of their available seat miles.
For the most, part WiFi is available throughout the mainline
networks of all low-cost and legacy U.S. carriers. Ultra-low-cost carriers
Spirit, Frontier and Allegiant don't offer the service, and carriers don't
typically offer it on their smaller 50-seat regional jets.
Worldwide, Southwest, Icelandair and Virgin Atlantic are the
three carriers that offer WiFi on 100% of their flights. Meanwhile, Delta and
United are among 13 carriers that offer WiFi on all long-haul flights.