Two-thirds of British travellers are not prepared to pay for infight wifi access, reveals the World Travel Market London 2017 Industry Report, released Monday 6 November at WTM London
More than 1,000 British travellers were asked if they were willing to buy internet access on a flight. A resounding 67% said no.
However, there are some British travellers who are interested in being able to log on on board. Nearly three-in-ten (29%) would be interested in the service on long-haul flights, with one in ten ready to pay on short-haul flights.
The UK-focused findings from the World Travel Market London 2017 Industry Report are in sharp contrast to the headline findings from the 2017 Inflight Connectivity Survey, produce by Inmarsat and GfK. This study aggregated responses from 9,000 travellers in 18 countries and found that, overall, 77% of passengers would pay for inflight connectivity on short-haul flights with 89% willing to pay on long-haul flights.
Airlines have invested heavily in inflight wifi capabilities for their fleet. Some offer business and first class passengers free access as part of the tickets, others make it available to frequent fliers while others have a tiered pricing option. Overall, the pricing model varies by carrier.
The drive towards inflight access in Europe and the UK is being led by the long-haul full service carriers. Virgin Atlantic recently announced that it is the first airline in Europe to offer wifi on all flights; BA is rolling out wifi on flights, including short-haul; Emirates is committed to having wifi on every plane it operates.
A recent study from the London School of Economics identified inflight connectivity as a medium-to long-term revenue growth line for airlines. Revenue from charging for broadband access alone is estimated to reach $15.9 billion by 2035, compared with $822 million in 2018.
Airline can also expect to earn money through advertising, e-commerce and destination shopping and by charging extra for premium content.
World Travel Market London’s Paul Nelson said: “The airline industry is committing significant resources to providing inflight wifi access for passengers, so the finding that two in three Brits will not pay to get online at 30,000 feet might come as a surprise, particularly in light of some of the global findings”.
eTN is a media partner for WTM.