Cost, technology and the willingness of passengers to pay for Wi-Fi services are few of the many issues airlines are dealing with. Now that very few people are flying because of the global economic downturn, major airlines are sponging for every dollar. However, the carriers are slow to set-up Wi-Fi on board, which could create a lot of revenue. Some carriers claim that it takes a lot of time to install all necessary equipment for full internet connection.
Robert Mann, an aviation consultant based in Port Washington, N.Y says that it is very risky for the carriers to announce they have ubiquitous use of Wi-fi onboard, in an effort to attract more customers, which they have not yet installed. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines Inc had announced plans to install Wi-Fi on 300 plus aircrafts, although American Airlines has only managed to install only on 15 aircrafts, and is now spreading the installation process of the remaining aircrafts over the next couple of years.
Delta on the other hand had managed to install on 130 aircrafts by Friday, and it seems it will not meet its earlier goal of having all domestic mainline planes installed by end of June. The spokeswoman, Betsy Talton said that the carrier had underestimated the timeframe. She says that installations will be complete on all its mainline fleet by end of this fall. All of Delta’s Northwest Aircrafts are set to have Wi-Fi installed by end of 2010. Talton said that the company has committed to broad implementation as it believes that the service will become more valuable to clients when it reaches a significant mass.
United Airlines, which is a unit of UAL Corp doesn’t have Wi-fi installed currently on any of its aircrafts, but a spokeswoman says plans are underway to install in 13 aircrafts towards the end of the year.