Does Wi-Fi On The Plane Work?

It comes in summer and you fly on holiday. Those who can’t help but stay connected start with wi-fi modems, various drives and packages to navigate abroad. There is only one time left when the Internet and WhatsApp are off-limited: by plane. At least so far.

Lately, an increasing number of airlines have embarked on the so-called on board wi-fi route. According to Routehappy’s report, US airlines offer passenger connections to 66% of flights; European colleagues only account for 24% of flights, but are growing.

But how does it work? Wi-fi on aircraft can be guaranteed in two ways: from the internet signal from the ground, or via satellites. The first option presented some problems due to the high number of countries that an aircraft flies over the route, each with specific conditions and shipping charges. The second proved very expensive. For these two reasons, the distribution of these services in Europe is much lower than in the United States.

As said, something is changing: thanks to the increase in the number of satellites in orbit and the consequent reduction in service costs, the offer of wi-fi in flight is growing. But who’s offering Wi-Fi by plane? At what price? And at what level of quality?

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Who offers wi-fi in Europe? In pole position there are Nordic countries: Norwegian offers free internet on 74 of its 76 Boeing 737-800 that tread internal routes to Europe; Iceland Air provides it free only to those traveling in Saga Class and Saga Gold; while

On the opposite side there are Ryanair, Alitalia, Air France, KLM and Vueling: they still do not provide wi-fi services but seem the most interested companies to install the service, aiming at some aircraft that run short and medium-term flights in the continent.

However, it will take some time before it can connect. If Air France has planned to activate the internet on board already this summer on two of its Airbus A320s and Ryanair has set the deadline for the end of the year (maybe only to check the mail on the routes “business”). In other words, Lufthansa: on long-haul flights it already offers Wi-Fi and the possibility to use the smartphone for calls and SMS; on medium-haul flights we will have to wait from here for the next two or four years.

And who does he fly with Alitalia for? In January the company stated that it will soon install wi-fi telecommunications systems on all aircraft of its fleet. We’ll see.

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Poor quality. In the US, where connecting on board is now a widespread practice, users report that there is still much to do to improve the quality of the service. The price, often disproportionate to the speed of the connection that is obtained, does not correspond to an adequate service and to the height of the needs of the passengers.

The survey by Routehappy on the state of the In-flight wi-fi was reported. Regarding the quality of the connection made available on American flights, 34% of respondents consider it rather satisfactory, 31% say it is good, while only 1% consider it excellent. The remaining 34% of travellers believe that performance should be significantly improved. It’s all because too many people use the connection at the same time.

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