Airlines with the Best Inflight Wi-Fi

Tim Winship, February 04, 2015
Fares from Washington DC:

    Addicted to Wi-Fi? Most of us are. And the craving doesn't cease when we board a plane. If anything, when confined for hours in a too-tight seat in a too-packed plane, the lure of Internet diversion spikes.

    The airlines, aware of surging customer demand and salivating at the prospect of a new source of revenue, have been scrambling to fit out their fleets with the hardware and software required to deliver Wi-Fi to each and every seat. But some airlines are much closer to fulfilling the promise of Wi-Fi-on-every-flight than others.

    Helpfully, Routehappy's "Global State of Inflight Wi-Fi" provides a clear picture of which airlines have the most Wi-Fi-enabled flights, and which have the least.

    Based on the percentage of flights with Wi-Fi, U.S. carriers fared as follows, ranked from highest to lowest:

    • Virgin America
    • Southwest
    • JetBlue
    • Delta
    • Alaska
    • American/US Airways
    • United

    So, your odds of having Internet access on a Virgin America or Southwest flight are much higher than they would be on a United flight. (For what it's worth, the report also shows that United has increased Wi-Fi coverage the most of any U.S. airline over the past 18 months.)

    Other highlights of the report:

    • Among U.S. airlines overall, based on miles flown, travelers stand a 66 percent chance of finding Wi-Fi on their flights.
    • Worldwide, based on miles flown, travelers stand a 24 percent chance of finding Wi-Fi on their flights.

    Wi-Fi access isn't likely to be the primary determinant in choosing an airline. But it's definitely a factor. Until other airlines catch up to Virgin America, which boasts WiFi at every seat, on every flight, it's worth checking to see whether the flight you're about to book has it. Or not.

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    This article was originally published on SmarterTravel and FrequentFlier.com under the title Airlines with the Best Inflight Wi-Fi.

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