Internet connectivity has become as crucial to our lives as oxygen, and you may have gazillion other types of entertainment, but life without WiFi is just a little difficult. Flying off in an airplane where you do not have other connectivity, you just have to have WiFi and you naturally expect that to come with the airline ticket that you bought.
While the airline may promise the service, there is absolutely no guarantee that the WiFi on your plane would be functional at the minimum. Not to forget, there is only a 39% chance of you getting on a flight with WiFi, according to RouteHappy.
The technology behind the airplane wifi is similar to the ground wireless technology. Air-to-ground (ATG), however, is much faster, because the towers are much closer. If you pay separately for the internet service on-flight, you should have an idea of how well it would work. Most airlines buy their internet service from Gogo, but there are some other services available as well. Gogo has introduced a newer technology ATG-4 that offers much faster speed. A few airlines, like JetBlue and Southwest use their own propriety wifi systems with different technology.
The top three airlines that offer the best WiFi are: JetBlue, Virgin America, and Delta Airlines. According to CNT, JetBlue offers the fastest internet with speeds clocking at 15Mbps. Virgin America claims to offer a service 8 to 10 times better than its competitors, but JetBlue also has the edge of offering the service for free. Both the airlines have it in common that all of their airplanes are equipped with WiFi. Hence, you won’t be internet-less, whenever you are flying with them. United Airlines is also known for really good internet service, though it is only available on very few of their flights.
Making the internet service better and faster, Delta Airlines is working on the third generation Ku/KA satellite technology. Emirates, Lufthansa, and United are known to provide really good WiFi service, but the only problem is that not all of their fleet is equipped with it. Etihad, Iberia, Scoot, and IcelandAir offer Wifi on all of their flights, but the prices vary significantly, and you may end up paying a lot of money to get nearly no service.
If you are lucky enough, you could be streaming Netflix and watching that in peace amidst the air.
Source: Refinery 29