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Inflight Wi-Fi Still Spotty on Most Airlines

Inflight Wi-Fi Still Spotty on Most Airlines

Inflight Wi-Fi is still a long way from being universally available. And nothing less will satisfy the traveling public, which expects to stay connected whether they’re at home or at work or onboard UA632 at 32,000 feet.

Although all airlines are expanding inflight Wi-Fi availability throughout their fleets, only two airlines, Virgin America and AirTran, have already achieved 100 percent coverage on their flights. Most airlines have fitted less than half their planes with Wi-Fi capability.

That’s according to a new report by flight-search site Routehappy. (The full report in .PDF format can be downloaded from this page.)

Among the highlights:

  • Wi-Fi is currently available on just 38 percent of domestic U.S. flights.
  • In absolute terms, Delta, Southwest, and US Airways have the most Wi-Fi-enabled flights.
  • In percentage terms, Virgin America and AirTran both boast 100 percent coverage, followed by Southwest, Delta and Alaska.
  • In both absolute and percentage terms, United is a notable laggard in its Wi-Fi implementation.
  • Route-wise, Atlanta flights feature the most Wi-Fi, due to Delta’s dominance.
  • Flights between New York and Los Angeles or San Francisco are about 80 percent connected.
  • Only 6.5 percent of international flights from the U.S. offer full-flight connectivity.

Bottom line: If staying connected inflight is a priority, you’ll have to choose your airline and flights carefully.

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  • BubbaJoe T-Bone Malone

    Looked at it another way, WiFi is available on a majority of flights (54%) that are not on UA. UA’s minimal WiFi (<1%) drags down the overall average a lot.