Inflight Connectivity: To Monetise or Not to Monetise?
In an increasingly connected world, Wi-Fi is no longer considered a want, but a need. It’s amazing to think that 57 per cent of a global population of 7.7 billion are already considered active Internet users, and the number continues to grow at a rate of more than 11 new users per second.
With such high Internet penetration rates, it is only to be expected that consumers’ demands for data are also evolving with equal tenacity.
Not only are users demanding faster connections, more reliable and secure networks, and ease of accessibility, they’re also expecting coverage everywhere they go. The latest trend? Wi-Fi in the sky.
According to a study by Inmarsat, more than half of airline passengers (55 per cent) describe inflight Wi-Fi as an essential. Based on the 2018 survey, Wi-Fi is now so critical to passengers that more than three quarters (78 per cent) would be more likely to rebook with an airline if high-quality Wi-Fi is available. In fact, inflight connectivity is in such high demand that the majority of today’s airline passengers are willing to sacrifice other inflight amenities for internet access.
Hence the question – should inflight connectivity be an entitlement and offered as a free service, or should it be monetised and charged per use?
Drivers of the demand
The workings of the aviation industry are increasingly being influenced by millennials.
Having grown up in a time of rapid change – think technological advancements, globalisation and economic disruption – this two-billion-strong generation has developed very different expectations when it comes to connectivity, compared to those before them.
Many Gen Y-ers connect across multiple devices almost 24/7; they consider connectivity as vital as any other basic human need; and they have often been found to make booking decisions based on the availability of Wi-Fi offerings by airlines – even foregoing a preferred brand if the service isn’t up to par.