Passengers demand fast airline wi-fi

Airlines are working to enhance inflight connectivity
Passenger expectations are high when it comes to inflight wi-fi, airline IT experts say. They want the same speed and service in the air as they’re used to on the ground, adding pressure on airlines to deliver.
“No longer do everyday passengers expect to have a quiet, unplugged two-hour trip. They want to be connected. They want to be on email,” says United Airlines IT chief Jon Merritt.
“We’ve got to be able to move quickly to next-generation technology.”
The question of whether airlines can ever recreate on-ground connectivity in the air is debatable, but that is what passengers want, according to a recent panel discussion at the Global Connected Aircraft Summit in Virginia.
Passengers expect to be able to stream videos and do everything they can do on the ground. And they will complain on social media when they can’t, Merritt warned.
“When we say we’re never going to be what we are on the ground, I get that. I get it, but I still don’t agree with it. I want what I want and I think that’s the consumer perspective,” Merritt said. “[Reliable on-board wi-fi] is an expectation. It’s not a luxury anymore.”
Other panellists agreed. Mark Rich of Airbus: “Today, you still don’t enjoy the same terrestrial experience in the air. Customers really want that. How do we replicate these services? I think that’s the big push in the next few years.”
However, Jon Norris of Panasonic Avionics admitted, “It’s always going to better on the ground”.


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