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Inflight connectivity: Airline passengers split over using mobile phones

Most people from France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, UK and the US are happy to have their phones rendered unusable while en route, while Indian, Chinese and Arab passengers generally want to make calls.

Bloomberg 

There's no consensus on whether making phone calls should be allowed during air travel
There's no consensus on whether making phone calls should be allowed during air travel

Whether you regard your next flight as a chance to kick back and relax or a valuable window to catch up on lost work may depend on where you live, according to a survey of 8,000 passengers in 10 key travel markets.

While airlines seem determined to keep passengers connected 24-7, most people from France, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Britain and the US are happy to have their phones rendered unusable while en route, the poll suggests. Indian, Chinese and Arab passengers, by contrast, are generally keen to make calls.

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Some 69 per cent of Germans reckon it’s not necessary to be permanently available, compared to just 12 per cent of Indians and 18 per cent of Chinese, according to the survey. The risk of disturbance was cited as the chief concern surrounding inflight phone links, with Japanese travellers most worried. Many Asian flyers said they’d pay for connectivity even if the flight cost much more.

While Eastern passengers may be keen to work — or chat — they’re also most concerned about the contents of refresher packs handed out by airlines.

Travellers from the United Arab Emirates, China and India said having a toothbrush and eye mask was important or very important, compared with only 38 per cent of Swedes. Fewer than one-third of respondents in any country wanted a shower, spa, wellness service or fitness equipment on board.

Generously sized seating is regarded as a priority on long-haul flights, especially for Americans, with 59 per cent of US respondents ranking bottom space and legroom as very important. Better seating is also the single-biggest priority for people when considering the future of air travel, the poll suggests.

Among other findings the survey by Nielsen suggests:

-- The British are the most likely to be bothered about waiting in line at the airport check-in; Swedes are the most chilled.

-- Having a range of inflight films, music and audio-books on offer matters most to customers from the US, India and the UAE.

-- Japanese flyers are the least keen on hearing updates from the pilot, whereas people from India and lap up progress reports.

-- Fast, is globally desirable but especially popular in China, and the US.

The survey was commissioned for Turkish Airlines’ annual Global Aviation Trends report.

First Published: Mon, July 16 2018. 21:26 IST
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