Would you swap toilet access for good in-flight Wi-Fi? You're not alone

A Honeywell survey shows that many fliers would give up vital amenities for better wireless Internet. Fully 13 percent of Americans surveyed said they'd ditch the loo for a stronger connection.

Honeywell surveyed users of in-flight Wi-Fi, and many said they would happily give up at least one amenity for better onboard connectivity. (Click to enlarge.) Honeywell

Thirteen percent of US airline passengers who have used onboard Wi-Fi say they'd give up access to the bathroom for a stronger Wi-Fi signal.

That odd number is just one to come out of a new survey about in-flight Internet conducted by contractor Honeywell. Among the other conclusions? Eighty-six percent of Americans want ubiquitous onboard Wi-Fi; 9 out of 10 would happily ditch one of their favored amenities if Internet was available throughout all their domestic and international flights; and 73 percent said they use onboard Wi-Fi just because they want to, not because of an obligation, work or otherwise, to stay connected.

The survey polled just over 3,000 airline passengers, 18 and older, who had used onboard Wi-Fi at least once in the last year. Two-thirds were Americans, while the remainder were split evenly between Brits and Singaporeans.

What's clear from the survey is that those who participated in it -- and they are, of course, inclined to want good in-flight Wi-Fi, given that they've used it before -- are generally unhappy with what's currently offered by airlines. For example, 52 percent of Americans surveyed said they thought today's onboard Internet tended to be inconsistent.

The survey's results play right into Honeywell's business plans. The company is in the midst of developing technology that it said should enable airlines flying Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, 747-8 Intercontinental, 777, 737NG, and 737 MAX to provide Wi-Fi at speeds of up to 49Mbps, no matter where in the world a plane is. The system utilizes Inmarsat's Ka-band in-flight Wi-Fi system. Honeywell is planning to sell hardware to airlines that will enable them to access Inmarsat's systems.

The company is also in discussions to provide the technology to airlines and other manufacturers.

According to a recent study by flight search site Routehappy, in-flight Wi-Fi is now available on 38 percent of US domestic flights, with Delta as the leading Wi-Fi provider. Thanks to current FAA initiatives and ongoing Wi-Fi installations, that number is only expected to grow.

 

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