Insight | Free is the future of IFC


  • Passengers lives are now almost defined by connectivity. Wherever they are they are connected to streams, endless scrolls, and workflows that fill their lives.


  • It is now incongruent to go hours unconnected, which has accelerated the expectation for airlines to provide a form of free inflight connectivity.
  • This paper explores just how airlines can meet passenger expectations and ensure a timely return on their investment.

Free Wi-Fi is one of the biggest trends in inflight connectivity, but what will the future look like as connectivity evolves?

Connectivity – free at the point of access – is the expectation everywhere these days. Cruising altitude is no exception.

In fact, our recent Passenger Experience Survey found that 77% of passengers now view inflight Wi-Fi as critical to their experience. And that is increasing fast, being 40 percentage points higher than pre-pandemic measurement. Our research also shows that free Wi-Fi is expected across age groups and for both long and short-haul flights.

If your airline isn’t delivering on these changing expectations, it might be falling behind the pack in the race to capture and engage customers.

To download the white paper, please click below.

The rise of bring-your-own device

We’ve grown so used to living our lives online that to leave behind our social media accounts, our streaming services and our productivity apps – even for a few hours – is almost unthinkable.

97% of passengers bring their own phone, tablet or laptop onto an aircraft, often even multiple devices. And when they board, they expect these devices to be able to connect to the internet.

Giving these devices access to Wi-Fi has traditionally been seen as an added cost for airlines, but there is a real opportunity to commercialise the bring-your-own-device trend.

Delivering free Wi-Fi doesn’t have to impact margin

There are a number of proven models that airlines around the world have been using to make free Wi-Fi economical.

Some sell advertising space, knowing that passengers are a captive audience, often in the mood to make impulse purchases. Others have partnered with content providers to deliver Wi-Fi, embracing them as valuable sponsors. Some airlines have found that frequent flyer programmes with free Wi-Fi included are enough of a draw to encourage passengers to sign up and join the programme if they are not a member already.

There is no one solution to make free Wi-Fi work. However, each of these options could help airlines not only offset the cost of providing free inflight Wi-Fi but make each individual passenger more valuable to the business.

The race is on

Some airlines are well ahead in the race to deliver on passengers’ connectivity expectations but, as an industry, there is still much more to accomplish.

Our new report explores the inflight Wi-Fi trends shaping the future of air travel. Download it today to learn all about:

  • What different demographics of passengers demand
  • The benefits and drawbacks of different business models behind inflight Wi-Fi
  • How to monetise free inflight Wi-Fi and better engage passengers
  • The businesses succeeding in this space and how they got ahead

The competitive stakes in this race are huge. According to our latest Passenger Experience Survey, 86% of passengers would re-book with an airline if they had a good Wi-Fi experience. Airlines that provide a free connection to the world beyond the plane’s wings will keep customers coming back for more. 

Download your copy of the report today and discover ways to make free IFC a reality.