As in-flight Wi-Fi becomes much more pervasive, passenger adoption of it is increasing.

But user habits are still to be studied and defined. We decided to ask U.S. in-flight Wi-Fi users about their habits and patterns of usage to better understand how they use it.

Using Google Consumer Surveys, we asked U.S. users a series of questions. Starting with the qualifying question, “Have you used Wi-Fi on an airline before?” we then drilled down to why those who answered “yes” used it: for work, for entertainment, or for communicating.

We came up with an interesting result: The majority of American users of in-flight Wi-Fi cite entertainment and personal communications as their primary use case for it, while a significant minority say it is mainly for business use.

Important: This single-question survey — not served to Skift users — was administered to the U.S. internet population from Apr 15-17, 2014 through Google Consumer Surveys, with a qualifying question with 1234 responses, and then the main question was served to about 250 previous airline wi-fi users. The methodology is explained here. See previous Skift Surveys here.

The full results and breakdown by gender, age, geography and other criteria, below.

» The qualifying question: It is interesting that about 18 percent of Americans say they have used in-flight Wi-Fi, which at this point is high. It still has a lot of growth in it.

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» The main result and takeaway: the majority — 60 percent — of American fliers who have used in-flight wi-fi have used it for entertainment and personal communications use.


» The gender breakdown: Men are more prone to use in-flight Wi-Fi for work, while women are more prone to use it for entertainment and communication. With this small sample size, more in-depth research is needed to understand gender behavior.

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» The age breakdown: Younger passengers use in-flight Wi-Fi for communicating with friends on ground. Maybe Gogo needs to come up with a communications-only package!

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» Regional breakdown: No discernible trends with the small sample size and margin of error.

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» The urban-rural divide: Urban users are more prone to use in-flight Wi-Fi for work.

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» Income breakdown: Americans with a salary in the $75-100K range tend to use in-flight Wi-Fi for work.

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Photo Credit: People use their smart devices on an American Airlines airplane, equipped with Gogo Inflight, enroute from Miami to New York. Carlo Allegri / Reuters