Is the desire for constant connectivity flushing the basic amenities for business travelers down the lavatory drain? A summer survey by tech giant Honeywell polled about 3,000 travelers from the United States, United Kingdom and Singapore to glean some insight on which in-flight amenity matters most. The overwhelming answer was: Wi-Fi.
The study suggests passengers want their in-flight Wi-Fi so badly, they’re willing to trade comforts for a connection, including extra legroom, reclining seats, snacks and, yes, some would even trade the toilet.
Surfing while flying
In fact, 54% of the Americans, 39% of Brits, and 30% of Singaporeans said they wouldn't be able to go even five hours on a flight without connecting to the web.
One in three would rather sit next to a crying baby for the duration of a flight than repeatedly lose the Wi-Fi connection.
And, most notably, 13% of Americans, 17% of Britons, and 22% of Singaporeans would forfeit their bathroom privileges to get online.
Carriers getting up to high-speed
Today, nearly 60% of commercial passenger aircraft in the United States are connected, not counting commuter jets, according to a Wall Street Journal survey of the nation’s dozen biggest airlines.
By the end of 2015, the airlines plan to have more than 85% of their mainline aircraft connected, including virtually all of the larger jets flown by the nation’s biggest carriers. So what is the technology industry doing to in the meantime to meet the urgent need?
GoGo, the largest provider of in-flight Internet in the United States is unveiling a system that uses a combination of satellites and cellular towers to provide Web speeds six times faster than the current best option.
GoGo’s new service will offer speeds of 60 megabits per second to each airplane, compared with 3 mbps on its original Wi-Fi connection, helping road warriors get wired.
While we think carriers are smart enough to leave the lav alone, the race for the fastest Internet connection up in the air is certain to speed up. Thanks to companies like GoGo, more planes are getting sky high Wi-Fi, keeping business travelers productive, even at 35,000 feet.