Craving Internet connectivity when you’re 30,000 feet up in the air? These are the airlines that come through with unmatched Wi-Fi. By Gayatri Moodliar
The expansion of Wi-Fi services across airlines globally has seen an exponential increase. According to the 2018 Wi-Fi Report by Routehappy, 82 airlines now offer access to the Internet in some form or the other, and that’s a 17% jump from what it was in 2017. It seems that surfing the net while soaring tens of thousands of feet up in the air is becoming more common than ever, and if constant connectivity is your aim, then, with the help of data from Traveloka, we’ve got the airlines that offer the best connection (not the usual ones airlines are known for).
HOW THE DATA WAS TABULATED:
To begin with, a list of the top 50 airlines (from the SkyTrax World Airline Awards 2018) that operate long-haul flights was formed. Then, information pertinent to these airlines was sourced from their official websites and others such as AirlinesWiFi and SeatGuru, and data provided by various publications. They were then given a score out of 100 based on criteria such as Wi-Fi (availability, speed and cost), Power (in-seat and USB port) and Connectedness (text messaging, live TV and phone calls).
THE TOP-5 LIST:
1. Qatar Airways:
It’s not tough to see why Qatar Airways tops the list: its OnAir service allows passengers to keep in touch with those on the ground through its ability to let SMS messages go through by simply connecting to the ‘Aeromobile’ network. For Wi-Fi connectivity, the ‘Oryx One’ network seamlessly permits passengers to continue whatever Internet-based work being worked on, at a decent enough speed. There is an added charge should you choose to avail these services. If you’re looking for pure entertainment, the airline’s Live TV is a crowd pleaser.
Close behind Qatar, Emirates offers an array of flexible Wi-Fi packages to choose from (they vary from class to class, as well as depending on whether you’re a Skywards member, and your tier within the membership). However, you do get 20 MB of data for free consumption within the first two hours of logging in. To complement that Wi-Fi, all First-Class passengers get a pair of noise-cancelling headphones courtesy of Bowers & Wilkins for the duration of the flight.
3. Delta Air Lines:
Another tech-savvy option, Delta offers free messaging throughout the flight, so whether it’s iMessage, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, you’ll always be connected. Though it’s become the norm for passengers to carry their own devices on the flight to suit their viewing experience, Delta has installed spanking new seat-back screens in their carriers, which let you scroll through an array of options from music to television shows to movies.
4. British Airways:
British Airways’ vision is to launch its Wi-Fi network .air in 90% of its aircrafts by the end of 2019. Available from the moment the plane ascends over 10,000 feet, the bandwidth is to be shared by all passengers, as is the custom with common hotspots, but BA’s ‘Browse & Stream’ package assures an experience of no less than 1 Mbps.
5. JetBlue Airways:
Available only when originating from an American destination, JetBlue offers its free Fly-Fi Wi-Fi across every single seat, a good enough reason for it to jump to fifth place.
So, if Wi-Fi is one of your priorities, then make sure these airlines are shortlisted when you’re planning your next trip.