Most Americans want onboard Wi-Fi, a survey found. (Credit: Virgin America )
Most Americans support the idea of connecting to the Internet at 35,000 feet in the air. But paying for onboard Wi-Fi is not so popular.
About 80% of air travelers who participated in a survey at the travel search site Fly.com said they would like to connect to the Internet by Wi-Fi while in flight.
But just under half said they would access the service only if it was free.
About 27% of the travelers said they would be willing to pay only if the charge was $5 or less.
The finding should be no surprise. A 2010 survey by J.D. Power & Associates of 53,000 travelers found that free Wi-Fi was the most desired amenity for hotel guests in nearly every segment of the industry, from luxury hotels to budget lodging.
The difference between hotel guests and airline passengers is that many hotel guest do get it for free.
Among guests staying at mid-scale hotels, 96% said they got free Wi-Fi, as did 64% of guests at budget hotels, according to the J.D. Power survey. None who stayed in luxury hotels said they got free wireless Internet.
The bad news for airline passengers: No major airline offers free Wi-Fi access.
However, good news for the 27% in the Fly.com survey — several carriers offer Wi-Fi at a starting price of $4.95.
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