10 Responses

  1. Gary
    Gary at |

    I sat on a panel with Scott Kirby in Phoenix days after US Airways announced they’d be rolling out wifi across the fleet. They were under no illusion that they would make money selling internet (that the usage fees would be greater than the cost). But they determined they were losing ticket sales by not offering internet. Customers who do care about the service would book carriers that offered it, and they’d lose the revenue. It was significant enough they couldn’t afford NOT to do internet.

    And since the bulk of the cost is fixed, to over it across the fleet, and not much driven by a single customer’s usage I would expect that eventually wifi will be ‘free’ (ie bundled in with ticket price).

    That will solve the issue of adoption. Very few will spend $12 or $20 or more perhaps. But a whole bunch of people will effectively pay an extra $1 in their tickets to use it. Once bandwidth is there it’ll get bundled in with other services.

    Now maybe it won’t be with ticket price. It’ll be bundled as part of an ‘extras’ package. But it probably won’t be sold primarily as a standalone.

  2. Eager Traveler
    Eager Traveler at |

    I’d be interested but only if there is power at the seat too.

  3. Kyle Harmon
    Kyle Harmon at |

    While I agree that it will happen eventually, I think we’re still a long way from “free” wifi on an aircraft. Despite massive improvements over the last few years, bandwidth for Internet via satellite is still a constrained resource, and if everyone on the plane start using that resource, performance will degrade tremendously and quickly.

    I agree that, especially in the US, carriers will lose business if they do not install wifi despite rather low usage rates (honestly, I’m surprised it was as high as 5%), but even though carriers will likely lose money on the service itself, I think that the purchase price will remain for quite some time in order to temper demand for a constrained resource.

  4. srptraveller
    srptraveller at |

    Several hundred pounds? Are you sure?

    Wow.

    Someome needs a diet……

  5. Levy Flight
    Levy Flight at |

    I am not enthusiastic about voice capabilities on flights. Etihad’s flights to EU leave at 1am. Anyone shouting in to Skype next to me will be looking for help surgically removing their IPad when arriving at FRA.

  6. Oliver2002
    Oliver2002 at |

    Compared to a 150 pound gogo kit that uses the ground relay in the US, a panasonic or onair satellite based system is very large for widebodies as it has a larger antenna, requires massive wiring to cover a much larger aircraft and requires 10-14 days downtime for the refit. Once in the air, each aircraft is monitored and assigned sats with complicated handovers when the aircraft crosses into another sats zone. The sad part is, people use this neat technology for bullcrap like posting and reading facebook :rolleyes:

  7. Boraxo
    Boraxo at |

    Internet is a huge asset on long flights, i.e. Qantas, but your product must otherwise be competitive. If you don’t have flat seats, or good service, or a good mileage program, you will lose business travelers to a competitor.

    United does not have international wifi and I consider that a disadvantage. However I will still take UA any day over Lufthansa because the lie-flat seats in C are far more valuable to me. Once LH installs comparable seats, I will probably ditch UA.

    Anybody who does not have wifi installed on new planes is just plain stupid. This is the way of the future.

  8. Carl
    Carl at |

    I expect to see WiFi become as a common as IFE, and either included in the ticket price or become a more cost-effective annual subscription for frequent flyers. And if people want to spend their time on Facebook, Flyertalk or MilePoint, so what?

  9. Scottrick
    Scottrick at |

    I like the free WiFi for premium cabins. And it may become a benefit for top-tier elites, too. Makes sense to provide it, just like they do at hotels. (I realize hotels don’t have the weight issue, but there is still an installation and maintenance cost.)

    I’m not sure I like the “Wi-Fly” name. They should probably re-think that one.

  10. Carl
    Carl at |

    Works for me as a top tier elite benefit, though that’s probably the vast majority of the potential market for people who would pay for WiFi. While an occasional business traveler may need and pay for WiFi at the hotel, they can probably do without for the duration of a flight.

    If the airlines can save on weight and expense for IFE equipment by offering WiFi instead, which can include some local content that is streamed, that may create the business case