Please wait while the search results are loading...

In Flight Wireless Takes Off, Business and Industry Trends Analysis

Airlines in the U.S. and around the world are investing in wireless technology to provide internet access, e-mail capability and, for some non-U.S. carriers, cellphone use while in the air.  Until recently, the technology necessary to provide these services was less than satisfactory and costs were prohibitively high.  Today, new satellite technologies are providing a better experience for users’ in-flight wireless.  Over the mid-term, the launch of thousands of new low-Earth orbit (LOE) satellites will provide much faster airline internet access at reasonable cost.
Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic meant immense drops in both travelers and the amount of Wi-Fi they need.  Global Eagle, provider of Wi-Fi to Southwest Airlines flights, took bankruptcy in early 2020.  GoGo, the inflight Wi-Fi provider to Delta and United, reported huge financial losses in early 2020 and laid off hundreds of employees.  Fortunately, mid-2021 saw a major upswing in air travel.
Airlines including American, Delta, United, Southwest and Alaska (as well as a number of airlines based outside the U.S.), currently offer Wi-Fi service for fees ranging from about $5 to $40 per flight.  Most airlines are in the process of upgrading their satellite service to handle heavy online access for passengers.  In doing so, the airlines are trying to have sponsors cover the cost of in-flight service.  For example, JetBlue’s domestic Wi-Fi is sponsored by Amazon.
In the U.S., JetBlue Airways Corp. acquired LiveTV, LLC, a provider of entertainment as well as e-mail.  JetBlue is offering the service on its flights and selling it to other carriers such as United Airlines.  In addition, JetBlue has an agreement with satellite communications company ViaSat, Inc. to provide airborne terminals and services for the carrier’s entire fleet of aircraft.  The Viasat-1 aviation broadband network uses satellite signals to provide greater broadband capacity in-flight.  Global Eagle Entertainment (“Gee Media”) acquired Row44, a provider of in-flight broadband entertainment based in Westlake Village, California, which had outfitted aircraft for Southwest, Norwegian Air Shuttle and Icelandair.
The challenge for in-flight wireless has been and continues to be the use of cellphones.  Passengers consistently state that they absolutely do not want to be forced to listen to other passengers’ cell phone calls.  Limiting the services available is the answer.  One technology for in-flight calls, which is provided by Geneva-based OnAir (owned by the internet technology firm SITA), uses a low-power onboard network that captures passengers’ phone signals and links them to a satellite for transmission to ground receivers.  Airlines can control which services they wish to offer: text messaging, internet access, telephone calls, etc.  Some airlines may choose to define quiet times when phone calls may not be made.  The firm also serves private aircraft and cruise ships.
Lufthansa worked with Panasonic to provide improved in-flight broadband service.  The service, called FlyNet, costs as much as $100,000 per airplane (which covers installing antennas and other equipment).  Lufthansa is betting on the popularity of the service.  However, passengers may not make phone calls on this system. 
Airlines and the wireless providers are working to improve satellite connectivity, increasing speeds and making streaming live video while flying possible.  Inmarsat’s Global Xpress service, an in-flight wireless provider, claims transmission speeds of 50 Mbps.

A Representative List of Organizations that Have Used our Research and Products:


I’m amazed at how much information is available and the various ways to access it. This will be a major resource for our serious job seekers.

Career Services, Penn State University

Plunkett Research Online provides a great ‘one stop shop’ for us to quickly come up to speed on major industries. It provides us with an overall analysis of the market, key statistics, and overviews of the major players in the industry in an online service that is fast, easy to navigate, and reliable.

Wendy Stotts, Manager, Carlson Companies

I really appreciate the depth you were able to get to so quickly (for our project). The team has looked through the material and are very happy with the data you pulled together.

Hilton Worldwide, Marketing Manager

We are especially trying to push Plunkett since all of our students have to do so much industry research and your interface is so easy to use.

Library Services, St. John’s College

We are especially trying to push Plunkett’s since all of our students have to do so much industry research and your interface is so easy to use.

Gary White, Business Materials Selector, Penn State University

Your tool is very comprehensive and immensely useful. The vertical marketing tool is very helpful, for it assists us in that venue, as well as targeting customers’ competition for new sales…The comprehensive material is absolutely fabulous. I am very impressed, I have to say!

Tammy Dalton, National Account Manager, MCI

The more I get into the database, the happier I am that we’ll have it–REALLY happy!!! Between the quality and affordability of your product, its appeal to and value for our users, and the inestimably ethical and loyalty-guaranteeing conduct of your business, I will always have more than sufficient praises to sing for Plunkett Research.

Michael Oppenheim, Collections & Reference Services, UCLA

Plunkett Research Online is an excellent resource…the database contains a wealth of useful data on sectors and companies, which is easy to search and well presented. Help and advice on how to conduct, export and save searches is available at all stages.

Penny Crossland, Editor, VIP Magazine
Real Time Web Analytics