Norwegian celebrates 5yrs free inflight Wi-Fi

By Doug Newhouse |

Norwegian topNorwegian, Europe’s third largest low-cost carrier has unveiled the findings of a study into the behaviour passengers using its free Wi-Fi service over the last five years.


The study combines a survey of 1,000 passengers with data usage from over 550,000 flights to reveal what its customers are browsing, sharing and tagging.


According to the airline, no less than a third of all passengers log into social media within 5 minutes of take-off, with Americans and British the most likely to brag about their holiday on social media, while the airline’s flights to Tromsø, Malaga, Barcelona, Alicante and Madrid currently have the most Wi-Fi users onboard.


In its survey, Norwegian said only one in ten passengers said they take a break from social media while flying, with more than 19m logging onto its Wi-Fi service since it went live back in 2011 and over 18,000 customers accessing the service every day.


Norwegian said: “Since introducing the free service over 500 terabytes of data have been consumed on board flights – the equivalent of streaming 1.2m songs, receiving 170m emails, or watching 25,000 hours of Netflix.”


The airline’s Wi-Fi system comprises an antenna fitted to each aircraft, which communicates with a satellite mounted on the fuselage. Two separate networks operate onboard, with one open for passengers and the other exclusively for the pilots and cabin crew to communicate with each other.


Norwegian cabin crew

Norwegian reported record passenger numbers in a single year, with almost 26m in 2015 and a load factor of 86%. The company’s long-haul operation also contributed considerably to the growth.


Thomas Ramdahl, Chief Commercial Officer at Norwegian, said: “Five years ago Norwegian became the first airline to introduce free Wi-Fi on European routes, and five years later we are still the only carrier to offer the service.”


Norwegian was also the first airline to tell its passengers to ‘bring your own device’ to interact with its inflight entertainment system and it was also the first airline to introduce live television programmes back in November 2015.


Norwegian lists the following behavioural findings from its survey:


FACEBOOK FOMO (fear of missing out): A third of passengers (28%) log onto a social media channel within just five minutes of the flight. One in five say they would be annoyed if they could not access social media during a flight – with 3% going as far as to say it would ruin their flight.


The interior of a Norwegian Dreamliner where free Wi-Fi and television await passengers

The interior of a Norwegian Dreamliner where free Wi-Fi and television await passengers.


HOLIDAY: American and British passengers are most likely to show off about their holiday, with 40% of Americans posting a picture or status about their trip during the flight. This is followed by 20% of Brits.


RACE TO GET ONLINE: German passengers are the keenest to get online, followed by Swedish and Danish. The availability of free Wi-Fi still comes as a surprise to British, Spanish and American travellers who take the longest to connect.


MILE-HIGH MOVERS: The most popular websites visited at 35,000ft by British passengers are news sites including BBC, Guardian and Daily Mail, followed by Right Move and Amazon.


DIGITAL DETOX: Just one in ten people said they like to take a break from social media during a flight.


LET ME TAKE A SELFIE: Inflight Wi-Fi has contributed to new social media trends with half of 18 to 25 year olds logging into Instagram to take a selfie or post a wing shot. To date #flyNorwegian has been tagged over 12,900 times on Instagram.


Norwegian aircraft


CHECKING IN: Spanish are the most addicted to social media – with 62% accessing networking sites during their flight. This is followed by Norwegian (56%) and Danish (55%) passengers.


Norwegian recently signed a series of new agreements worth more than £40m ($58m) to continue its charter partnerships with TUI, Thomas Cook Northern Europe and Nazar Nordic.


As a result, the airline will transport passengers on more than 2,200 flights from the UK and the Nordics to summer destinations, including the Balearics, the Greek Isles and the Canaries.


Norwegian has been voted ‘Europe’s best low-cost carrier’ by passengers for three consecutive years at SkyTrax World Airline Awards, and was also the first airline to be awarded the ‘World’s best low-cost long-haul airline’ in 2015 by SkyTrax.


The airline has one of the youngest aircraft fleets in the world with an average age of four years, including next-generation Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Boeing 737-800s.



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