A survey by leading travel search site Skyscanner asked 1,000 travellers about their ideal on-board entertainment. Wi-Fi came out on top as only 37 per cent would choose to use the airline’s in-flight entertainment system if Wi-Fi was on offer.
The ability to chat online to friends back home and keep their fingers on the pulse even at 35,000 feet is the key attraction of Wi-Fi access on planes with nearly two-thirds of travellers (60 per cent) wanting to post on Facebook and Twitter as they fly.
Yet while passengers are keen to chat to their friends back home, they aren’t willing to chat to their co-passengers: a quarter said they wouldn’t talk at all to any co-passengers to pass the time on a 12 hour flight.
While we want to stay connected, it seems the thought of sitting next to someone chatting away and shouting ‘I’m on a plane’, isn’t going to top our list of in-flight entertainment anytime soon
While women are more likely to spend time chatting to their co-passengers during a long flight, it is men who’d be more likely to chat to friends over Skype while they travel.
If their airline offered Wi-Fi, almost half (48%) said they would stream films or TV shows, giving them more control over what they watch in-flight, while 15% said they would use the chance to stay in touch with the office to work as they fly.
Victoria Bailie at Skyscanner said: “Traditionally we’d get on our flight, flick through the duty free brochure, choose a film, read a book or listen to music. Now, with the increasing availability of new in-flight technology, travellers want to stay connected with the outside world, rather than switch off, as they fly.
Emirates already offers its passengers in-flight Wi-Fi connectivity with their OnAir service, a move that more airlines look set to follow with JetBlue’s decision to launch free on-board Wi-Fi next year.
However not all technical innovations would receive a warm welcome. Given the option to use their mobile phone on-board, only 38 per cent of people would do so, suggesting that passengers prefer the peace and quiet of a mobile-free zone.
While Wi-Fi was the most popular choice, the survey found that travellers still enjoy a good movie, or four, when flying long-haul. Almost half (43 per cent) spend a whopping four or more hours watching films and TV on a 12 hour flight, while those flying from the East Midlands spend the most time glued to the box.
The nation’s in-flight bookworms come from the North West, with the majority spending over two hours reading when they hit the skies.
Victoria added: “However, while there’s a strong demand for Wi-Fi, there is more resistance to the rise of in-flight mobile calls. While we want to stay connected, it seems the thought of sitting next to someone chatting away and shouting ‘I’m on a plane’, isn’t going to top our list of in-flight entertainment anytime soon."
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