Monthly Airplane Wi-Fi Reliability Report Card: June 2019

Apologies for being behind on reporting.  This is my sixth 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:

June 2019 Wi-Fi Scorecard

United Airlines: 4 working flights out of 6 (66%)

This was one of my best months for United wi-fi connectivity.  I had one flight that probably could have gone either way on working or not.  Ultimately, I didn’t have connectivity for over an hour of a 3-hour flight.  That seems to be enough pain to call that a loss.  I had two long overseas flights on United this month that both had working wi-fi.  My recollection is that those planes are equipped with a different system than the one that has failed me on so many 737 flights this year.  Without those two flights in the mix, this is another 50-50 month for United’s reliability.

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

One of my 2 Delta flights had faster wi-fi than the other, but both were serviceable. Since I’m mostly an e-mail/spreadsheet sort of guy on airplanes, they were both perfectly adequate for my needs.

Qantas: 1 working flight out of 1 (100%)

This was a 3-hour flight on Qantas that had the added benefit of being free wi-fi!  Speeds were solid for the entire ride.  Couldn’t be happier.

YTD Stats:

United Airlines: 22 working flights out of 42 (52%)

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

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

Delta Air Lines: 5 working flight out of 5 (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%)

Qantas: 1 working flight out of 1 (100%)

Total: 37 working flights out of 60 (62%)

The Final Two Pennies

My airplane wi-fi percentage creeps above 60%.  The flights on Delta continue to be a function of the lack of consistent wi-fi 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.  However, on connecting routes I’m leaning more towards Delta for overall reliability (not just on wi-fi).

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. 42 flights is a big enough number that I’m starting to feel strongly about booking away from United in certain situations.

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