A survey by aircraft-connectivity supplier Inmarsat has revealed that 83% of business travelers would rebook with airlines that offer high-quality connectivity and 74% of business travelers now see inflight Wi-Fi as “crucial.”

“While last year’s survey confirmed that the majority of passengers feel inflight Wi-Fi is a necessity, not a luxury, this year’s survey shows the influence that demand for Wi-Fi has on customer loyalty and satisfaction,” Inmarsat said.

Inmarsat’s fourth annual connectivity survey, performed in association with market research company Populus, polled more than 9,341 passengers across Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and the US between April and May 2018.

“Globally, passengers ranked inflight Wi-Fi as the fourth most important factor that they consider when choosing an airline, behind airline reputation, free checked baggage and extra leg room,” Inmarsat said.

More than two-thirds of all passengers would be more likely to rebook if an airline offered high-quality Wi-Fi, but this figure rose to 83% among business travelers and 81% of passengers traveling with children.

“Passengers are now so keen to get online that more than half (53%) would sacrifice their inflight drink for internet access,” Inmarsat said.

If Wi-Fi were available, 91% of 18- to 30-year-olds, 90% of business travelers and 90% of passengers traveling with children said they would use it.

However, less than half of passengers (45%) traveled on flights where Wi-Fi was offered and 54% said no Wi-Fi is better than a poor-quality service.

Victoria Moores victoria.moores@informa.com