In-flight Internet? No Thanks

Despite almost daily claims from airlines that they are working to improve in-flight connectivity for their customers, fewer than 5 per cent of travellers think that such services are a good idea.

So says meta-search engine,, based on a survey of over 1,300 frequent travellers, carried out in September. In fact, the survey found that 30 per cent of travellers would actively avoid travelling with an airline that offered such services.

The main objections to having on-board access to telephone and internet services were the potential annoyance of people talking loudly on phones mid-flight and the desire to be uninterrupted by emails and social networking sites whilst travelling. 62 per cent of respondents expressed concern about the safety risk posed by the use of mobile phones on flights, despite reassurances from airlines.

“These results really highlight the perception UK travellers have that connectivity on flights could be more of an interference than an enhancement,” says Aaron Ritoper,’s UK general manager. “We believe this perception will change as services are introduced, given that people already enjoy wireless connectivity when commuting by train. Naturally, airlines will need to ensure appropriate measures are in place so that people respect other passengers space and keep their communications discreet.

“We also think that consumers may be concerned that internet or mobile phone use could be prohibitively expensive, and present another channel for airlines to raise additional revenue from passengers – similar to the baggage charges that are consistently met with hostility from the British public.”

The concern about pricing was reflected in the survey results, which found that over 85 per cent of Brits would not pay more than £5 per flight for internet access, and less than one per cent would be willing to pay more than £10.
Attitudes towards connectivity on flights varied dramatically in different European markets. In Spain, almost 80 per cent of respondents were keen to have access to the internet on flights, but more than 60 per cent of Germans respondents said they didnt want to use the internet when flying.