In-flight Technology

Surprisingly, some of the world’s best airlines are not the top for tech. Source: Shutterstock.

FAST WiFi, live TV, power points, and a comprehensive in-flight entertainment on a long-haul flight?

Yes, please.

More and more travelers are relying on their digital devices for work and entertainment onboard, which is why it is important for airlines to tech their planes up and be properly equipped to cater to them.

So where do you look to ensure that your next journey will have everything you need to turn your flight into an “office in the sky”?

You could look at the list of 2018 Skytrax World Airline Awards winners but are the world’s top airlines as tech-friendly as you would assume?

Thankfully, a new study by airline ticketing and hotel booking platform Traveloka has examined how ‘tech-friendly’ 50 airlines operating long-haul flights are. To do so, the website compared onboard WiFi, power points, in-flight entertainment, and passenger connectivity.

The results may surprise you.

In-flight Technology

Source: Shutterstock.

The state-owned flag carrier of peninsula Arab country Qatar, Qatar Airways, came out on top for its ‘super WiFi’ service which was launched earlier this year. It keeps passengers connected with speeds of up to 50Mbps at a cool price of US$10 for unlimited usage per flight.

Coming in close is Dubai-based Emirates Airline, which gives each passenger 20MB of free WiFi but it has to be used within two hours. Passengers who want to remain connected will have to fork out US$6.99 for a further 150MB or US$10.99 for 500MB.

Emirates was also been praised for its selection of in-flight entertainment, which includes 3,500 channels of movies, TV shows, music, games and live TV from CNN International, CNBC, BBC World Service, and Sport24.

Other Asia-Pacific-based airlines that cinched top spots in the list include Cathay Pacific at number six, Turkish Airlines at number eight, Etihad Airlines at numbers nine, and Eva Air at number 10.

And among the big league, top-tier airlines is New York City-based budget airline JetBlue Airways, which took fifth place for its outstanding in-flight tech such as seat-back screens (for flights longer than two hours) and an onboard WiFi system that enables free Amazon Video streaming.

Surprisingly, Singapore Airlines, this year’s Skytrax World Airline Awards “Airline of the Year” winner, was knocked back to number 14 in the ranks. This could be due to the fact that the airline only gives 100MB of free WiFi to its first class passengers and 30MB of free WiFi to its PPS Club Members/business class.

“It’s not unreasonable to assume the airlines with the best reputation or most expensive seats will offer the best in-flight entertainment and Wi-Fi, but our research proves this isn’t always the case,” Traveloka business development SVP Caesar Indra said.

“In fact, some budget-friendly carriers, such as JetBlue Airways, are going above and beyond to guarantee their customers reliable connectivity. Across the board, we’re seeing airlines striving to gain a competitive edge by making improvements to their tech offerings.”

The full list of rankings is available here.

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