66 per cent of passengers say that the availability of Wi-Fi influences their flight decisions, a survey by Honeywell Aerospace has found.
The survey, which was conducted in order to gauge the consumption demands of Wi-Fi for air travellers, found that nearly one in four passengers have paid more for a flight with Wi-Fi, and close to one in five have switched carriers due to better Wi-Fi offerings.
Demand for Wi-Fi is so strong that 37 per cent of respondents would be upset if there was no Wi-Fi access on their next flight. This is compared to 35 per cent who would be upset if their next flight did not have food or drink available for purchase. 85 per cent would use Wi-Fi on all or most flights if it was free.
Over 1,000 adults in the United States, who have used Wi-Fi on planes within the past 12 months, took part in the survey.
Passengers desire fast and constant connections in order to stream videos, live chat with family and friends, and download files quickly. Almost half the respondents would be willing to experience a travel-related inconvenience for Wi-Fi that's as fast as it is at home. 45 per cent of respondents would be willing to endure airport security twice, while 34 per cent would be willing to show up three hours before boarding time. 29 per cent would even swap their confirmed ticket to a standby flight that has Wi-Fi as fast as at home.
Over half of respondents also say they would be embarrassed if an in-flight neighbour saw what they were doing for fun using the carrier's Wi-Fi. 50 per cent said they would be embarrassed if someone saw them perusing a dating site, while 32 per cent would be embarrassed if they were caught watching cat videos.
"You can pack your own meals but you can't pack your own Wi-Fi," said Jack Jacobs, the vice president of Marketing and Product at Honeywell Aerospace.
"The commercial aviation industry has to pay attention to meet the demands of passengers, giving them the freedom to stay connected whenever and wherever they want. Honeywell's survey affirms that consumers are accustomed to easy access to Wi-Fi, and they expect it to be fast and consistent like at home or work. Those expectations are expanding up into the sky," he added.