Monthly Airplane Wi-Fi Reliability Report Card: May 2019

This is my fifth month recording my airplane Wi-Fi stats during my business and leisure travel.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, reliable airplane Wi-Fi is the most important element for me on a business flight.

May seems to be my new normal for reliability, with some pretty rough months earlier in the year:

May 2019 Wi-Fi Scorecard

United Airlines: 4 working flights out of 8 (50%)

Exactly the same stats as I had last month on United.  I had one flight that Wi-Fi started out great on, and then it devolved to nothing.  It started working about 30 minutes prior to landing.  This was on a flight just over 2 hours.  So, I could probably go either way on that one.  Given that United has consistently been at about 50% accuracy, it just didn’t seem appropriate to give them the benefit of the doubt.  I do wish they would turn a corner.

Delta Air Lines: 2 working flights out of 2 (100%)

Both of my Delta flights in May were on planes where the speed was slow but consistent. For some folks, it might have been a non-starter.  Since I’m mostly an e-mail/spreadsheet sort of guy on airplanes, it was perfectly adequate for my needs.

YTD Stats:

United Airlines: 18 working flights out of 36 (50%)

Southwest Airlines: 1 working flight out of 2 (50%)

Air Canada: 1 working flight out of 1 (100%)

Delta Air Lines: 3 working flight out of 3 (100%)

American Airlines: 5 working flights out of 6 (83%)

Alaska Airlines: o working flights out of 1 (0%)

Private Plane: 2 working flights out of 2 (100%)

Total: 30 working flights out of 51 (59%)

The Final Two Pennies

My percentage stays at 59% for another month.  The two flights on Delta were a direct response to the lack of Wi-Fi reliability on United.  United has moved their schedule around a bit on some of the routes I frequent the most.  That means they don’t always have a nonstop choice from my home airport of IAD when I need it.  When there’s a nonstop option that gets me home to my family sooner, that’s still my first choice.  It’s the most efficient use of my time.

I’m not entirely sure where the line is for moving more business away from United because of the Wi-Fi issue.  I’ve flown Frontier and really don’t mind the in-flight experience, though I do recommend the extra legroom seats for the full-sized tray table to work on.  They don’t have any plans to add Wi-Fi to their planes, the single biggest reason I don’t fly them more often.  At some point, if United’s Wi-Fi reliability dropped further, I’d have to think about moving more business to Delta or American for the increase in productivity. 36 flights isn’t a massive sample size.  But, it’s enough to have me continue to lean away from United(and towards American or Delta) on connecting flights.

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