JetBlue Airways subsidiary LiveTV knows it is "the voice in the wilderness" on passenger-pay models for in-flight broadband right now. While the company is well aware there is "a lot of interest" in in-flight connectivity, it believes not many people are really digging around to find out what is really happening and why. Digging around for what, I ask?
How about hard and fast user stats, for example.
I can tell you that those stats are not the easiest thing to come by, although Virgin America was pretty candid about its user rates in a recent article that ran on Flight Global's new dedicated IFE&C channel.
I'm trying to get a better sense of the facts myself by running an IAG survey about in-flight Wi-Fi interest, which asks - what pricing option best suits your needs? I intend to write about the results so PLEASE take one minute to fill this baby out. http://survey.iag-inc.com/interview.cfm?id=126
But back to LiveTV. Company CEO Nate Quigley yesterday responded to my blog about MIT Professor Hansman's comment that smartphones are changing the passenger experience.
Quigley left a lengthy comment on the blog (reprinted below in its entirety), after stepping off a Gogo-equipped Delta 757. His is just one assessment but it does provide some good food for thought.
As you know, we at LiveTV don't necessarily disagree with the good Professor Hansman - at least not on all of his points. "At Home in the Air" will definitely involve wi-fi broadband and personal electronic devices. Of course we also believe that "At Home" will certainly include a screen in every seatback.
I wish Victoria would have asked Professor H what his living room looks like. I bet he's got wi-fi....AND, I bet he's got a screen positioned at a comfortable angle directly across the room from his sofa. In fact, I bet he watched the Wimbledon finals on that very screen yesterday while sitting comfortably on that sofa!
As it happens, I just stepped off a GoGo-equipped Delta 757-200 on a flight from JFK to SLC. The aircraft was also equipped with Panasonic's excellent AVOD system that many readers of this blog have experienced. It's a great system and it performed well. We departed at 9:30AM and flew about 5 hours. Being the inquisitive guy that I am, I walked around and took notes on what people were doing on the plane. Here's what I saw (can you see where this is going?):
In Business class:
- all 26 seats full
- all 26 screens were tuned to something
- 1 laptop came out midflight, woman working but not on wifi
- couple snoozers
In Economy class where I was sitting:
- nearly full flight of 158 economy pax. Maybe 4-5 empty seats.
- Using IFE - 72
- Reading book, magazine, or newspaper - 34
- Sleeping - 31
- Personal Electronic Device for fun (game or movie) - 14
- Working, reviewing or writing on paper - 6
- Working on laptop - 5
- Using Gogo wi-fi - 1 (Me)
I'm not making it up. Maybe it was just an anomaly, but on this flight at least the score was "IFE 100, Broadband 1."
This comment is turning into more of a blog post, so I'll wrap it up by reaffirming that at LiveTV we believe in broadband because we believe in "At Home in the Air". But we continue to ask ourselves three questions based on what we're seeing out there: when, how, and who pays?
Thanks Nate! Very much appreciate your contribution!