Connectivity Pulse: Here’s How Airlines Can Drive Connectivity Services Take-Up

Panasonic Avionics< Panasonic Avionics
06/08/21 4 MIN READ

According to a global survey conducted by Panasonic Avionics in 2019, 76% of passengers would choose an airline specifically because of the connectivity services they offer. Yet, on average fewer than 10% of passengers actually connect. What factors can contribute to these contrasting figures? 

Take-up is influenced by various factors including awareness, passengers’ needs, payment methods, ease of access, pricing, and product mix. We operate in a global industry, serving customers from around the world with divergent preferences for services, devices, and payment methods. Considering this, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to improving take-up of connectivity services. This is how airlines can decide which connectivity services have the best chances of conversion. 


While the traveling public is starting to expect airlines to have connectivity on board, there is still an opportunity to further increase that awareness by pre-emptively answering these questions: “Can I connect?” “How do I connect?” “How much will I pay?” “How do I pay?” 

Passengers have diverse service needs 

An onboard connectivity service needs to be flexible to meet different passenger use cases. These use cases depend on: 

Giving more options to connect will lead to an increase in connectivity take-up. 

Passengers have different preferences for paying 

Credit cards, vouchers, and sometimes cash are the traditional means of paying for in-flight connectivity, but each method introduces their own barriers to passenger connections. 

Adopting digital payment methods such as Alipay and Apple Pay will help more passengers to get connected, but it currently only appeals to a small segment of passengers. Meanwhile, all passengers with mobile phones typically carry them onboard; that device ubiquity enables other important means of payment which can increase the number of passengers who can and want to connect. 

Focusing on diversifying accepted payments, rather that depending on converting passengers to your airline’s preference, will boost cabin connectivity take-up. 

Passenger experience 

We expect connectivity to be ubiquitous, and getting connected should be easy. On the ground, passengers have a choice to connect to Wi-Fi through a portal, or to connect via their mobile network operator to use data and voice services. The connection experience in-flight should be no different. Having more choice in the cabin will lead to more passengers connecting. 


An aircraft carries many passengers, each with their own unique needs, different devices, and diverse payment preferences. Passenger needs can be segmented, with each segment having different price sensitivities and different perceptions of value. For instance, users who are traveling for work can be less price-sensitive, perhaps because their employer pays the bill, and they have an urgent need to connect; millennials, on the other hand, might be more reluctant to pay for connectivity services. 

While considering these elements, your airline should also be aware that the commoditization of connectivity services means many passengers may expect at least some level of service to be free. Others are willing to pay depending on what they can achieve with the connectivity services on offer. Catering for diverse expectations and pricing points is the most effective way to maximize take-up and service revenues. 

Service portfolio 

Offering a choice of connectivity services increases take-up. That’s a key finding from a study done by Panasonic Avionics on revenue-driving users across 30+ airlines around the world over two years. Connectivity take-up was measured across commercial aircraft fitted with Wi-Fi services globally, versus aircraft with a combination of Wi-Fi portal and mobile services. 

When Wi-Fi is provided alongside mobile services on the same aircraft—like what passengers are used to on the ground—take rates are maximized and more users get connected. On aircraft offering both Wi-Fi and mobile services, there were even slight upticks in the number of Wi-Fi users compared to aircraft with Wi-Fi services only, indicating that the presence of mobile services acted as an awareness mechanism and conversion technique for Wi-Fi. 

A portfolio combining Wi-Fi and mobile services ensures that a wide set of user preferences and needs can be addressed to increase connectivity take-up, leading to greater passenger satisfaction and loyalty, and increasing ancillary revenue opportunities for the airline. 

For more information on our connectivity offerings, click here.

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