Viasat has announced the findings of the 2023 Passenger Experience Survey which surveyed more than 11,000 global air travellers.
The company says that, as passenger numbers reach near-record levels and with global travel definitely back on the cultural agenda, the survey’s findings show passenger expectations are starting to also increase.
According to Viasat, 83% of surveyed people reported they are more likely to rebook a flight with an airline that offered quality Wi-Fi. In addition, 81% said Wi-Fi was important to their onboard experience, which Viasat says is an increase of 4% since last year.
Jimmy Dodd, SVP & President of Global Enterprise & Mobility at Viasat commented on the survey results: “These findings give us a fascinating insight into the minds of passengers at a critical time for the aviation sector.
“It is encouraging to see passenger numbers close to pre-COVID levels; and the 2023 Passenger Experience Survey shows how quickly travellers have adopted to digital nativism, including expectations for free, fast Wi-Fi and edge-of-your-seat experiences, like Live TV and Live Sport at 30,000 feet.”
Regarding Wi-Fi charges on board flights, half of the respondents commented that they are less likely to connect to in-flight Wi-Fi if they had to pay. Also, 29% are willing to pay more for their ticket to benefit from free Wi-Fi.
Viasat says that other than ticket price, free in-flight Wi-Fi has become the most influential factor for passengers when choosing a carrier, ahead of free food and drink, legroom and free entertainment.
The survey also found that, in the US, demand for free in-flight Wi-Fi has increased by 50% since 2022, with India seeing a 42% increase and Brazil 35%. 82% passengers said Wi-Fi should be free on all long-haul flights and 47% want unlimited social media access, while 1 in 5 want to game (22%).
In addition, 4 in 5 passengers said they would pay for access to live sport during a flight with the FIFA World Cup in most demand (45%), followed by the Olympics (28%) and the NBA (25%).