Availability of Inflight Wi-Fi on the Rise

While spending time in transit, whether on a general aviation airplane or a commercial airliner, an increasing number of people are expecting to add to their potential productivity by having the availability of Wi-Fi. As a result, Routehappy, a company that provides information about airline services, has added new data regarding the availability and quality of infight Wi-Fi to its Scores and Happiness Factors for commercial flights.

The growth of Wi-Fi on airlines has been significant, and Routehappy tagged 2014 as "the year inflight Wi-Fi took off." At least 52 airlines now have Wi-Fi available and customers can expect "some" chance of having Wi-Fi on 24 percent of flights worldwide and 66 percent within the United States, the company said. An example of the recent growth is the number of aircraft in the U.S. domestic fleet offering Wi-Fi — a number that grew by 179 percent, from 518 to 1,445, in the past 18 months.

At the same time, inflight Wi-Fi provider Gogo announced it expects 2015 to be a record year for installations with a backlog of 1,000 commercial aircraft installations, more than half of which are expected to be installed this year. Through Gogo Biz, the service is also a factory option for most business aircraft. Other Wi-Fi options on the general aviation side include Inmarsat and Iridium. New providers, such as SmartSky with a 4G network, are on the horizon.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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