They want to stay connected via Wi-Fi, according to a study conducted by American Airlines and HP. The recent survey among frequent flyers shows how they continue to rely on technology to meet their business and travel needs.

More than 47% of business travelers surveyed indicated Wi-Fi was the most important airport amenity, outscoring basic travels needs such as food by nearly 30 percentage points.

Sponsored by HP, the American Airlines Customer Research online study was conducted with more than 1,500 frequent travelers who log more than 20 trips a year on three or more airlines.

A combined 67.7% of frequent travelers surveyed said a dead battery (41.4%) and no place to plug in (26.3%) were their largest complaints. Power outlets also are in high demand at the gate and onboard the flight. And 24% said access to electrical power is the most important technology amenity aboard a plane.

More than 90% of frequent travelers surveyed have a notebook and phone in hand. If Wi-Fi were enabled onboard, 70.5% would choose their notebook as their primary device for conducting business-related work, with mobile phones (with telephony turned off) at a distant second at 19.8%.

Business travelers say they can work efficiently at the airport and their hotels, but efficiency drops dramatically onboard the plane. More than 96% of respondents conduct work-related activities at their hotels. And 85% conduct work-related activities at the airport, but this number drops to 52.6% onboard a flight. Travelers say they scramble to conduct work-related items (for example, sending e-mails, making calls) at the gate before they take off (76%).

Earlier this year, American Airlines had announced it had completed the trial stage of its inflight Internet service and has decided to install Gogo Inflight Internet on more than 300 domestic (U.S.) aircraft over the next two years. 

It had also introduced mobile boarding passes. Travelers can get their boarding passes electronically on their mobile phones or PDAs. This eliminates the need to present paper passes at the gate. The facility allows travellers to just show barcodes on their mobiles to enter.

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About Rakesh Raman

Have extensive editorial, content management, and integrated communications experience and have worked as a senior tech journalist, analyst, and columnist with different newspapers, magazines, and Web/online properties in India.

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