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In-flight experience with Inmarsat

Inmarsat is an industry leader in the provision of mobile satellite services across land, sea and air. The organisation now provides mobile and Wi-Fi communication services across many industries, such as merchant shipping, airlines, governments, and the oil and gas industry. As installation of Wi-Fi on commercial airlines grows, they needed to:

  • Understand how airline passengers use and experience in-flight Wi-Fi at a global level
  • Identify passenger expectations of in-flight Wi-Fi
  • Establish the extent of the demand for Wi-Fi on board
  • Understand the impact that in-flight Wi-Fi can have on customer loyalty to airlines


In order to reach these aims, Inmarsat commissioned a 20 minute survey speaking to people who had flown in the last 12 months. All respondents also had to own a connected device such as a mobile phone, tablet or laptop computer. The survey was conducted at a global level speaking to 9,300 respondents in 32 different markets, capturing responses from the regions in Europe, NAM, LATAM, IMEA and APAC.

Specific topics in the survey included in-flight Wi-Fi experience, take-up rate of in-flight Wi-Fi, payment and pricing, as well as customer behaviour and loyalty.

The findings shed light on an ever increasingly digital world. The research highlighted the importance of Wi-Fi on a global scale. 8 in 10 (78%) stated that it is fundamental to daily life. More than 6 in 10 feel that in-flight Wi-Fi is a necessity.

An Implicit Response Test (IRT) was conducted, allowing Populus to discover how passengers really feel about in-flight Wi-Fi; both their implicit and explicit responses.

In-flight Wi-Fi was generally viewed positively at a global level, with passengers seeing it as innovative, useful, exciting, safe and high quality both explicitly and implicitly.

The IRT raised an interesting difference in perceptions of in-flight Wi-Fi in NAM (as seen in the chart below). Although it is still seen as useful and exciting in the region, it is also perceived as expensive and less high quality, indicating that previous experience of the quality and expense of the service may have put people off.

The research showed that high-quality Wi-Fi drives customer loyalty; customers are more likely to re-book with an airline if it is available.

The research identified the importance of in-flight Wi-Fi to passengers and the need for airlines to provide high quality Wi-Fi on-board. Offering a quality service to their high value customers impacts their overall flying experience, driving customer loyalty and ultimately increasing revenues for airlines.

The findings from the research provided Inmarsat with some key insights into perceptions of in-flight Wi-Fi at a global level, and ultimately fed into their overall strategy for product and sales development, helping to grow their business further.

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