Healthy single-digit numbers of paying customers?!?

In-flight Wi-Fi is getting more and more attention in the press thanks in no small part to Aircell, which has not only captured the lion’s share of the US market but has also become a multi-media marketing machine (note to Aircell competitors – Aircell has set the social media networking bar for in-flight connectivity providers).

Jaunted is running a grand piece about Aircell’s latest promo, which entails a 50% discount! Be sure and copy that discount code down!

Now here’s an interesting exercise. Take Jaunted’s piece about Aircell’s promo and add a splash of Joe Sharkey’s interview with Row 44 chief John Guidon (yes, it ran less than one week after my parking lot chat for those keeping track of the game) and you’ve got a very interesting discussion. What discussion is that, RWG?

Well here is Guidon’s key quote:


“Right now, as we run these trials we’re seeing healthy single-digit numbers of paying customers.”

These are early days, of course. And Guidon goes on to say that, as more people acquire Wi-Fi enabled personal devices, the numbers will grow as in-flight broadband becomes “an essential service that customers demand”.

I have no doubt that in-flight broadband will become “an essential service that customers demand”. But will they pay? That is the question.

Until we get that answer, check out the @GogoInflight customers tweeting away like robins after a rainstorm (plus other interesting stuff).

 




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4 Responses to Healthy single-digit numbers of paying customers?!?

  1. Bob July 27, 2009 at 6:07 pm #

    Single-digit numbers is all that can be expected on short-haul flights, which is what WN and AS are flying, primarily. With Aircell’s price points (prior to their discount) they weren’t doing much better even on long haul. People aren’t willing to pay what either company thought.

  2. Muchroom July 28, 2009 at 6:16 am #

    **Stage is set in ‘AirConnect’ towers**

    [Be-suited exec shows investors animated powerpoint slides and business case and is interrupted by a spotty youth bringing in the tea and biscuits]

    Spotty youth – “Excuse me sir, do you really think people want to pay to have internet connectivity on board an aircraft?”

    [And suddenly the truth hits home - of the 10 people with a laptop on board a full flight; no-one really wants to pay for the internet for 4 hours and neither do they want it in the first place]

    [Exit all - stage right]

  3. Patrick Flannigan July 28, 2009 at 5:07 pm #

    I agree with Bob. On a short haul flight, how many people would even use free wifi? Depending upon the flight, you barely have enough time to boot the computer and get started before the 10,000 foot chime goes off.

    And unless it was a very long flight, I can’t imagine very many people paying for internet access. I for one would not. There is plenty for me to do offline, from reading to podcasts to music. You name it, most of us can keep ourselves occupied.

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