With just 6.2% of travelers on Gogo-equipped flights using Wi-Fi you can see that the industry is headed toward free Wi-Fi on flights, assuming the systems can handle the bandwidth.
Business airports versus leisure airports.
Large airports versus smaller airports.
Long-haul versus short-haul flights.
In the battle for Wi-Fi-connectivity, San Francisco Airport passengers were the most likely to turn on Wi-Fi on Gogo-supplied flights, and Pensacola Airport passengers brought up the rear as the least likely to go online once up in the air on flights with Gogo Wi-Fi.
Gogo compiled a top 10 and bottom 10 of most- and least-connected airports, respectively, calculating the number of passengers connecting to Wi-Fi during their flights by airport as a percentage of the total number of passengers who board planes with Gogo Internet.
Unsurprisingly, business-travel heavy airports on both coasts (with the exception of O’Hare in Chicago) filled out the ranks of the top 10, and more leisure-travel-oriented airports occupied the least-connected ranks.
“A lot has to do with length of trips and whether the routes are heavy on business versus leisure travelers,” says Gogo spokesperson Steve Nolan. In general, long-haul flights flown by business travelers tended to have higher percentages of passengers using Wi-Fi than those flyers on short-haul flights.
Gogo’s overall take rate for Wi-Fi connectivity for the first quarter of 2013 was just 6.2%, and there are some people who argue that with this sort of limited usage, airlines should foot the costs and offer free Wi-Fi to passengers.
Gogo currently has a dominant position in Wi-Fi on U.S. domestic flights, powering the service for American Airlines, Air Canada, AirTran Airways, Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America. It should be noted that Gogo’s survey doesn’t take into account passengers using onboard Wi-Fi from other providers such as Row44.
Regarding some of the differences between the number 1-connected airport on a percentage basis, SFO, and the least-connected airport PNS, consider that San Francisco handled 16.8 million passengers and more than 16.4 million enplanements in fiscal 2012, the latest statistics available. United and Virgin America were the main carriers operating in the airport.
Pensacola International Airport, meanwhile, handles a mere 72 daily arrivals, on average, has a 5,610 daily-seat capacity, and operates out of a lone terminal.
Here is Gogo’s infographic on its Top 10 and Bottom 10 airports for passengers’ Wi-Fi connectivity habits:
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Photo Credit: A passenger on a Virgin America plane fires up his onboard Wi-Fi. Virgin America
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