Inflight Wi-Fi is five years old… the data is weird

Inflight Wi-Fi has not yet hit critical mass, but data from airline Norwegian reports that our mobile and online habits are no different in the air.

inflightFive years ago, Norwegian was the first European carrier to offer free Wi-Fi on all routes. Since pioneering the service in February 2011 more than 19 million passengers have logged in at 35,000ft and digital addictions remain the same airborne.

According to a study from Norwegian, more than a third of passengers log into social media within five minutes of a flight and just one in ten passengers said they take a break from social media during a flight.

The airline polled a representative selection of 1,000 passengers across Europe about their inflight surfing habits and combined it with data usage from more than 550,000 flights to reveal what people are browsing, sharing and tagging over Europe’s skies.

More than 18,000 passengers access Norwegian’s free Wi-Fi every day, with the biggest demand on routes to and from Spain. Since introducing the free service more than 500 terabytes of data have been consumed on board flights – the equivalent of streaming 1.2 million songs, receiving 170 million emails or watching 25,000 hours of Netflix.

The most popular websites visited by people from the UK are news sites including BBC, Guardian and Daily Mail, followed by Right Move and Amazon. Inflight Wi-Fi has contributed to new social media trends with half of 18-to 25- year-olds logging into Instagram to take a selfie or post a wing shot. To date #flyNorwegian has been tagged over 12,900 times on Instagram

Norwegian’s Wi-Fi works via an antenna fitted to each aircraft that communicates with a satellite mounted on the fuselage. Inside the aircraft, there are two separate networks, one that is open for passengers and one for pilots and cabin crew that to make their work in the air easier and more efficient.

Norwegian has continued its pioneering technological spirit by becoming the only airline to offer a ‘bring your own device’ inflight entertainment system across Europe, and becoming the first European carrier to introduce live television in November 2015.