Soon we won’t be able to tell our boss we’re going offline to board a flight.
Now that we’ve gotten the president’s annual State of the Union address out of the way, we can turn our attention the equally pressing Annual Global State of In-Flight Wi-Fi report. Flight booking data, tools and content company Route Happy has examined the year ahead, and is, well, happy to report that in-flight Wi-Fi is only continuing to grow in availability.
The big, overarching find in Route Happy’s report is that more than a third of all global ASMs (Available seat miles) now offer in-flight Wi-Fi in some capacity. That figure doubles here in the U.S. aboard our domestic carriers to 71 percent. Route Happy further differentiates the Wi-Fi options available on these flights between basic, better and best connectivity, but the important thing to know is that if you’re flying on a standard-size jet on a well-traveled, regularly scheduled route here in the States, chances are pretty good that you’ll have Wi-Fi.
Route Happy’s Adam Gwosdoff explains his company’s methodology to RWV:
“We use the industry’s standard metric (and the fairest, most objective one) to measure the availability of Wi-Fi — the ASM or available seat mile. We take the number of seats for sale on each flight (depends on the aircraft type and airline) and multiply it by the number of miles (distance) of the flight. That’s what an ASM is. We then determine based on knowing which flights have Wi-Fi, how long those flights are, and how many seats are available on each plane, the “ASMs with Wi-Fi” versus the “Total ASMs” and that is how we derive the 71%.”
Delta, United, American, Emirates and Southwest are the five most Wi-Fi equipped fleets out there today, with Delta the clear frontrunner. But again, we’re talking ASM’s. That frontrunner status only means that Delta flies the most Wi-Fi accessible miles in a year.
When it comes to the percentage of an airline’s total fleet that has Wi-Fi capability, plucky Virgin America takes the cake here at home with a near 100% Wi-Fi capability rate. All but the airline’s newly launched Hawaii routes now come standard equipped with Wi-Fipowerful enough to stream Netflix. But measuring by ASMs, Virgin America doesn’t even crack the top 20. Internationally, Singapore-based Scoot Airlines earned a perfect score. 100% of its fleet now allows passengers access to the web.
As for those record-breaking long-haul routes, Emirates clocks in at number one, providing Wi-Fi on almost twice as many of its ASMs on its longest routes as second place United. But again, the much smaller Lufthansa actually earns a perfect score in this category; 100% of the German airline’s long-haul flights offer wireless internet.