Paid Wi-Fi to become a trend on airplanes
People's Daily Online

Statistics provided by the Civil Aviation Passenger Service Evaluation (CAPSE) showed that 92 percent of passengers think Wi-Fi is necessary on airplanes, while 38 percent say they are unwilling to pay for the service, according to the Civil Aviation Resource Net of China.


About 33 percent of those surveyed think the cost of Wi-Fi should be included in the ticket price, while 8 percent said they are willing to use their miles to purchase in-flight internet services.

According to the Civil Aviation Administration of China, 300 aircraft of 12 airliners in China have implemented in-flight network services, which make up around 8.5 percent of the country’s total number of 3,638 aircraft.

During the last Spring Festival holiday, China Eastern Airlines started to provide Wi-Fi services on 7,772 segments. About 1.65 million people used the service to watch the Spring Festival Gala, take part in the digital red envelope race on WeChat, and send New Year greetings to their friends and families.

Passengers will be entitled to a free Wi-Fi experience worth 258 yuan on board China Eastern Airlines, said a company advertisement. The price is based on similar services provided by foreign airliners, said Zhang Chi with China Eastern Airlines.

He said the company also allows passengers to buy Wi-Fi services with their miles, explaining that free Wi-Fi service is inefficient for those in real need of network services. He added that fees for inflight network services would drop in the long run.

In the United States, 80 percent of flights offer Wi-Fi services. In the next five years, Wi-Fi coverage on China’s air network is expected to catch up the US.

Currently, all Chinese airliners provide free Wi-Fi for passengers as the industry authorities have yet to approve the charged service. However, according to international experience, charged Wi-Fi service will soon become a trend.