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Why Aren't We Getting Inflight Internet For Free?  
User currently offlinetioloko100 From Australia, joined Jul 2012, 133 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 6386 times:
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In China, one can get free internet in a $30/day hotel, in Dubai & Singapore one can get free internet on the streets for free.
Here is Melbourne, you can get it for free at the federation square, most resorts in Punta Cana in Dominican Republic offer free internet, Murtala mohammed Airport in lagos offers free internet for an hour thereabout for free.
Why cant we get it for free when we are airborne despite the premium amount we pay for first/business class? its 2012 for goodness sake!!! Even Qantas has scrapped its plans for inflight internet on A380 flights

http://flyingactive.com/content/92-w...-we-getting-inflight-internet.html

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineshufflemoomin From Denmark, joined Jun 2010, 480 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 6360 times:

Well, a good percentage of hotels don't offer free Wifi and it's much less technical and expensive for them to offer it than Airlines. I'm sure airlines feel the same way.

User currently offlineDeltaRules From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3788 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 6330 times:

The internet price is one of my biggest beefs. I can see where it's useful or desirable to some...but when you look at the cost for access per segment or per day as compared to the internet speed, it's almost overrated. I tried DL's Gogo during one of their free promotions and getting a YouTube video to load was akin to pulling teeth. Even Facebook struggled to load.

I'd rather have AVOD than Wifi on all the MD-90s that are joining the fleet, though I'd assume installing Wifi makes more sense from both cost and weight savings perspectives.

(On the hotel note, I've always found it funny that a $39.95/night Days Inn in the US will offer free internet, but a $250/night Marriott in Downtown Washington, DC charges $12 for internet service. You'd think it would be the other way around, a la Allegiant or Ryanair in the airline world charging for extras.)



Let's Kick the Tires & Light the Fires!!
User currently offlineGeo772 From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2004, 519 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 6319 times:

Because in relation to ground based systems it is very expensive. Aircraft require special internal aerials along with other additional hardware = cost and weight. The provider of the system has to recover the costs of having several satellites orbiting the earth in addition to it's day to day running costs.

The other reason is that it is a way to make more money. You can either use it as a product differentiator to have a higher priced product or you can have it as a paid for optional extra (Like Qantas).
The same goes for mobile phone use in aircraft.



Flown on A300B4/600,A319/20/21,A332/3,A343,B727,B732/3/4/5/6/7/8,B741/2/4,B752/3,B762/3,B772/3,DC10,L1011-200,VC10,MD80,
User currently offlineTK787 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 4451 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 6272 times:

TK offers free wifi and 3 channels of LiveTV on some of its 77Ws on international flights, and it makes my day to be able to connect with friends, get some work done over the Atlantic. TK planning to offer this service on all 77W and 333 fleet.
On the other hand, I just read that one of the UAE airlines, can't remember which one, charging something like $12/ hour. What???


User currently offlineFuling From Australia, joined Apr 2011, 187 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 6272 times:

Maybe internet is a privilage, not a right? I think in this day and age we are beginning to expect too much from airlines.

[Edited 2012-12-11 08:05:49]

User currently offlineAIR MALTA From Malta, joined Sep 2001, 2514 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 6272 times:

Well I'd rather not have Internet access when on a plane. It is one of the last places on earth where you can disconnect from work and just sit back and relax... A good IFE will do!


Next flights : BRU-ZRH-CAI (LX)/ BRU-FCO-TLV (AZ)
User currently offlinempdpilot From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 994 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 6240 times:

Quoting Geo772 (Reply 3):
The provider of the system has to recover the costs of having several satellites orbiting the earth in addition to it's day to day running costs.

Most of the US based systems use ground based systems, or so I have been told. So the cost doesn't include satellites.

I think the point everyone has issue with is on a Delta MD-90 if the 5% usage holds true, that is 8 people. Each paying 12.95 for the WiFi, this means that the revenue for WiFi is like $105 a flight. This suggests it doesn't cost that much to operate as they don't make very much off of it.

Now the issue with just making it free is that everyone will get on it and then instead of 8 people fighting for bandwidth, you have 160 people and the slow speeds that DeltaRules was mentioning get slower.

The solution I think it fair and is something that is marketable, is you say free to use Facebook, and check e-mail. Block high usage sites like YouTube because they hog bandwidth. Then you offer unrestricted WiFi for 12.95. You would still get probably 8 people to buy it and you would please everyone else.



One mile of highway gets you one mile, one mile of runway gets you anywhere.
User currently offlinetioloko100 From Australia, joined Jul 2012, 133 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 6240 times:
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Quoting shufflemoomin (Reply 1):
Well, a good percentage of hotels don't offer free Wifi and it's much less technical and expensive for them to offer it than Airlines. I'm sure airlines feel the same way.

most hotels in asia pacific region offer free internet, i am not sure which region you are referring to


User currently offlinempdpilot From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 994 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 6220 times:

Quoting tioloko100 (Reply 8):
most hotels in asia pacific region offer free internet, i am not sure which region you are referring to

Most large hotels in the US charge for WiFi. I think it is stupid but that is just me.



One mile of highway gets you one mile, one mile of runway gets you anywhere.
User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6951 posts, RR: 46
Reply 10, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 6203 times:

I think it is the cost of installation; I read somewhere that it is on the order of $1.5 million per aircraft. They want to recover that cost; but the problem seems to be that too few people are willing to pay what they have to charge.


The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 11, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 6144 times:

Quoting tioloko100 (Thread starter):
Why cant we get it for free when we are airborne despite the premium amount we pay for first/business class?

Because the marginal cost is high.

Most hotels and such pay a fixed monthly charge for a rather large internet pipe...the marginal cost to add a user is nearly zero so many include it for "free" or a small charge.

Most aviation data systems are per kilobyte or megabyte...their cost scales directly with their usage. The only way to be profitable in a scheme like that is to charge enough to cover the average usage per user.

Quoting mpdpilot (Reply 7):
I think the point everyone has issue with is on a Delta MD-90 if the 5% usage holds true, that is 8 people. Each paying 12.95 for the WiFi, this means that the revenue for WiFi is like $105 a flight. This suggests it doesn't cost that much to operate as they don't make very much off of it.

Installing the equipment has a reasonably large upfront investment but the marginal cost to have it sitting there and turned on is very small. However, the marginal cost to push data through it is not.

Tom.


User currently offlineWestern727 From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 751 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 6076 times:

I'm not a fan of inflight Wi-Fi. I've found that the speeds are abysmal once at least a couple dozen other pax get online at the same time. It's typically sufficient for e-mails, yes, but not quite so for web surfing or, even worse, streaming video.

It's similar to entering a coffee shop with Wi-Fi only to see 20 laptops online and seeing one's network speeds suffer as a result. Then that's compounded by the fact that speeds on inflight systems are not quite up to par with standard Wi-Fi which is typically hooked up to a strong hard-wire connection (cable or FiOS, typically).

So...with all due respect, if Wi-Fi were to become free inflight, the already-not-so-great speeds would degrade even further and make a somewhat-frustrating experience even more so.

EDIT: I overlooked DeltaRules' reply, and s/he got it on the dot: when you look at the cost for access per segment or per day as compared to the internet speed, it's almost overrated. I tried DL's Gogo during one of their free promotions and getting a YouTube video to load was akin to pulling teeth. Even Facebook struggled to load.

Bottom line: I agree with DeltaRules: it's overrated. It's only worthwhile if you MUST send/receive e-mails without delay while flying since e-mails are generally text-based with no graphics...thereby, the low Wi-Fi speed wouldn't be too noticeable.

[Edited 2012-12-11 09:08:51]


Jack @ AUS
User currently offlinemoose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2342 posts, RR: 10
Reply 13, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 6016 times:

In an industry that has evolved to charging you to carry your bags or feed you, do you really think they would pass up on an opportunity to pull in a few more dollars?


KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
User currently offlineB727FA From United States of America, joined Jun 2011, 775 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 5899 times:

What everyone has missed is that it's not the airline that is charging for the access--they are merely the platform for the service. GoGo, et al, are 3rd party vendors who essentially "place their product" on airline a/c.


My comments/opinions are my own and are not to be construed as the opinion(s) of my employer.
User currently offlinempdpilot From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 994 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 5821 times:

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 11):
Installing the equipment has a reasonably large upfront investment but the marginal cost to have it sitting there and turned on is very small. However, the marginal cost to push data through it is not.

But wouldn't offering low usage stuff be a reasonable compromise? I feel that airlines market the service pretty heavily for only 8 people on a flight to use it.

It makes perfect sense that the more usage the higher the cost, but allowing low usage sites such as Facebook or e-mail or ebay or amazon can't possibly break the bank. It is the streaming of video that is the problem or high usage sites.

or even better yet give people 30min free and a charge for additional time.

My biggest issue isn't the cost 12.95 for a 24hr pass pretty reasonable (often lower than what hotels charge if they charge). The issue is that I am only on the aircraft for 2.5 hrs. by that math 1.30 would be more reasonable. If gogo offered free WiFi in other places then I could understand spending that amount but they don't. Heck your 24hr pass doesn't even transfer between airlines that offer gogo.

I guess my thought is that Inflight WiFi is charging to cover its costs and it shouldn't be. It is a marketing tool and if you can get one more person to fly your airline because you have WiFi then you are already making more money than you would get from selling WiFi. Its like charging first class passengers to use their lie-flat seats. You are using it as a marketing tool so it is OK to spend money on it because having the lie-flat gets you more revenue from the passenger than not having it. By charging 12.95 I am not going to go out of my way to fly Delta to have the ability to pay 12.95 for WiFi, now I would totally go out of my way to fly Delta if they allowed me to check my e-mail online for free, or pay 6.95 to download a movie or something like that.



One mile of highway gets you one mile, one mile of runway gets you anywhere.
User currently offlinemandala499 From Indonesia, joined Aug 2001, 6919 posts, RR: 76
Reply 16, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 5784 times:

Quoting tioloko100 (Thread starter):
In China, one can get free internet in a $30/day hotel, in Dubai & Singapore one can get free internet on the streets for free.
Here is Melbourne, you can get it for free at the federation square, most resorts in Punta Cana in Dominican Republic offer free internet, Murtala mohammed Airport in lagos offers free internet for an hour thereabout for free.
Why cant we get it for free when we are airborne despite the premium amount we pay for first/business class? its 2012 for goodness sake!!! Even Qantas has scrapped its plans for inflight internet on A380 flights

Well, internet on the aircraft, and internet on the ground are two very different things.

In the US, they also have a terrestrial system to beam up to the aircraft. Expensive infrastructure on the ground, cheap installation on the ground. Drawback, this only works on large landmasses with large volume of flights... this can give fixed prices per use, ie, not volume based pricing.

Outside the US (and soon,some parts of Canada), no such thing exist. Largely, because of the telco regulations. Your internet, covers the laws of the country of your aircraft, and also the country the aircraft is flying over. Each country have different laws on who can and cannot provide internet service (and even the US has that).

So, then we go to satellite services. Currently, there are 2 types of service that is prevalent around the world.

The first, is Ku-band satellite service. Uses satellites that cover a wide area on a single beam... much like your VSAT. Ku-band service is relatively cheap for data transmission. Row44 in the US and Europe (on Norwegian) use this, and there are several other providers such as Panasonic Global Communications Service (from Panasonic Avionics). This kind of service arise from the DirecTV services in a way. The antenna is not small (and quite draggy... increased fuel burn)... and they're mechanical... and not cheap.

The cheap data transmission costs allow flat pricing, and Ku-band is so cheap in some places, heck, you can give it for free (such as with Norwegian). BUT, such a service is only available on a per region basis for flat-price (ie: not volume based). Flat pricing model services are also available on Viasat, and Panasonic... The only problem is, it can take several minutes to switch from one satellite to another as one nears the edge of the coverage area of a particular satellite, and doesn't work well as you cross the equator because you would have "Adjacent Satellite Interference", due to the shape of the low-profile Ku-band antenna... ie: when you cross the equator, you'd zap several other satellites too... causing interference.

The problem with Ku-Band service, is that most of the satellite beams are aimed at areas where there's a lot of users... ie: Land! Service over oceans does not have the same number of satellites covering it... this tends to raise the price.

The only trans-oceanic service with Ku-Band is provided by Viasat, Panasonic, and that thing Lufthansa uses (forgot)... and reliable trans-oceanic service onboard aircraft currently is over the north atlantic... other areas are covered, but I don't remember them off by heart... (TK's 777s use this service).

Then, what are we left with?
Well, there is Inmarsat's SwiftBroadband service. This is the most prevalent current-generation service outside the US. It uses electronic beam steering or fine-beam angle mechanical steering, and it's weather proof (Ku-Band, not so!). The problem is, the pricing available is predominantly volume based. Unlimited use pricing is available, BUT, it's extremly expensive! This is what's used with Emirates and Singapore Airlines... and the prices they offer to the customer, is far below the the price airlines or whoever have to pay... ie: it loses money.

A lot of the SwiftBroadband service offered to passengers also come through 2G internet via your cellphone... the airline can make money with this, but the passenger pay international roaming data rates.

---

Telco regulations of countries the aircraft fly over, vary. That's why when flying over some countries, the service has to be switched off.

That 4-5% uptake rate, IS the current global average. The US fares better with 5%... the rest ofthe world is 3-4% depending on the country and airline. The number is higher if it's offered for free.

Quoting mpdpilot (Reply 7):
The solution I think it fair and is something that is marketable, is you say free to use Facebook, and check e-mail. Block high usage sites like YouTube because they hog bandwidth. Then you offer unrestricted WiFi for 12.95.

Optimization, and restricting high-bandwidth usage, is the only way forward with the current technologies.
A few years down the line, we'd have Ka-band satellite (same system and weaknesses as the Ku-band) with much higher bandwidth... but the telco regulations aren't changing... so, it'll face the same regulatory challenges.

Quoting SEPilot (Reply 10):
I think it is the cost of installation; I read somewhere that it is on the order of $1.5 million per aircraft. They want to recover that cost; but the problem seems to be that too few people are willing to pay what they have to charge.

It really does depend on which system. The equipment costs are going down. Excluding aircraft downtime (minimum 3 full days), manpower in installation, and STC costs, the equipment can cost from $50,000 to $1.5 million dollars, depending on what you take!

Mandala499



When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
User currently offlineAreopagus From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1370 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 5750 times:

Quoting tioloko100 (Reply 8):
most hotels in asia pacific region offer free internet, i am not sure which region you are referring to

Australia maybe? On my trip last month, the hotels in Darwin, Uluru, Sydney, and Cairns all charged for internet. In Sydney I paid $25 for access, but the signal was weak and I had to go sit in one corner to get any service. In Cairns, there was free wi-fi in the lobby, but not in the rooms.


User currently offlinebrilondon From Canada, joined Aug 2005, 4296 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 5739 times:

Quoting AIR MALTA (Reply 6):
Well I'd rather not have Internet access when on a plane. It is one of the last places on earth where you can disconnect from work and just sit back and relax... A good IFE will do!

Unfortunately the airlines so not offer a good IFE product IMO. The garbage from Hollywood is drivel, and I do not want to be exposed to that crap. Wifi is the only decent thing on medium flights with in the US.



Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6722 posts, RR: 12
Reply 19, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 5475 times:

Just for the sake of it and since my father owns a sailboat with which we do some cruises (and I also have a cousin living on a sailboat in the Caribbean) I looked at the current satellite internet offering. To my surprise bidirectional speedy internet is now relatively affordable for ground applications, especially isolated homes but also RVs, as long as you don't move. You can have unlimited internet and TV for something like 100€/month (in France that is, Western Europe really considering the satellites coverage) and limited but sufficient internet for most for a third of that.

However when you add "boat" to the equation, it's another story entirely. The stabilized antenna needed is so expensive you can't even buy it, you have to get a package that is more than 1000€/month.



New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently offlinetwinotter From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 204 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 5327 times:

Quoting DeltaRules (Reply 2):
On the hotel note, I've always found it funny that a $39.95/night Days Inn in the US will offer free internet, but a $250/night Marriott in Downtown Washington, DC charges $12 for internet service. You'd think it would be the other way around

It makes perfect sense. Most of the Marriot's guests are on expense reports and, hence, do not care how much the hotel charges for internet service. They will buy it no matter how much it costs because they aren't paying for it directly. Of course the hotel is going to charge for it! For a motel where most guests aren't on business, things like free internet are a selling point.

This is also why the same Marriott doesn't offer a free breakfast bar.


User currently offlinesrbmod From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 5276 times:

Quoting mpdpilot (Reply 7):
Most of the US based systems use ground based systems, or so I have been told. So the cost doesn't include satellites.

Southwest uses Row44 which is satellite-based. GoGo is about to roll out a satellite product to go alongside their ATG WiFi service so that their current customers can outfit their international fleets with WiFi.

Quoting Western727 (Reply 12):
I'm not a fan of inflight Wi-Fi. I've found that the speeds are abysmal once at least a couple dozen other pax get online at the same time. It's typically sufficient for e-mails, yes, but not quite so for web surfing or, even worse, streaming video.

GoGo is not really for steaming video (and even audio, as my last trip I tried to stream SiriusXM on my tablet and was never really able to get more than 10-15 minutes before it cut out) as such things compete with the airlines' own IFE offerings on some of their flights. GoGo has developed an IFE streaming product for use onboard a/c in which the streaming/VOD content is stored on the a/c and instead of sending it to seatback LCD screens, you get it via your laptop or tablet.

Quoting B727FA (Reply 14):
What everyone has missed is that it's not the airline that is charging for the access--they are merely the platform for the service. GoGo, et al, are 3rd party vendors who essentially "place their product" on airline a/c.

Exactly.

Quoting DeltaRules (Reply 2):
(On the hotel note, I've always found it funny that a $39.95/night Days Inn in the US will offer free internet, but a $250/night Marriott in Downtown Washington, DC charges $12 for internet service. You'd think it would be the other way around, a la Allegiant or Ryanair in the airline world charging for extras.)

Some hotels actually bundle the WiFi into the daily "resort fee" they charge (Which is typically in the $20-25/day range.). I've found that the hotels in Las Vegas that don't charge a resort fee want you to pay anywhere from $12-15 a day for WiFi (The pricing is set by the vendor and not the hotel.).

Perhaps the companies that provide inflight WiFi could offer free access that is ad supported (I know that there are some sites that GoGo lets people access for free.) but limit it to things like email and Facebook (but not games). I know that some airports offer free WiFi but the service is ad supported.


User currently offlineCatiii From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 3045 posts, RR: 4
Reply 22, posted (1 year 10 months 1 week 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 5218 times:

Quoting tioloko100 (Thread starter):
In China, one can get free internet in a $30/day hotel
Quoting tioloko100 (Reply 8):
most hotels in asia pacific region offer free internet, i am not sure which region you are referring to

"Free" is a relative term. How do you know that the rates aren't, say, $10 a night more than they normally would be to cover the costs of "free" wifi? More like wifi is "included" in the rate.


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