New data reveals your best options for inflight browsing.
Good news for anyone who tires of those inflight movies: According to new data from Route Happy, connecting to the Internet at 35,000 feet is easier (and faster) than ever before. That’s especially true in the United States, where you have a 78 percent chance of getting Wi-Fi service. Worldwide, the odds are lower, but still good—the survey found that just over a third of airline seats have some form of Wi-Fi connectivity, although a number of foreign carriers aren’t yet up to speed, so to speak.
But the big question for most travelers—especially those trapped on really long flights—is on which airlines and on which routes they have the best chance of getting that precious signal.
The top long-haul route in the world for Wi-Fi, reports Route Happy, is Dubai-New York, with 100 percent of the flights having access. Emirates, United and Lufthansa scored high in the long-haul department; in fact, the German flagship carrier is the first to have all of its long-distance planes wired for the Internet.
Out of the other 10 busiest air routes on the planet, just two others—Los Angeles-Tokyo, and London-Singapore, had Wi-Fi on more than half of their total capacity; and if you are flying from New York to London, your odds of finding Wi-Fi are about one in three, the survey said. If you’re jetting between Hong Kong and London, better bring a good book: you only have a 13 percent chance of being able to log on.
Overall, U.S. airlines are leading the pack in Wi-Fi conversions, with the three major U.S. lines—American, Delta, and United, offering the most Wi-Fi enabled planes of all carriers worldwide. Delta has the most Wi-Fi-friendly fleet of any major U.S. line, while Virgin America is the only domestic line with Wi-Fi on 100 percent of its planes. For the long haul, United has the most long-distance flights with a chance of Wi-Fi, and has the best connectivity. American is rapidly catching up its two main rivals, however, and now has around 350 aircraft with Wi-Fi following its merger with US Airways.