A decision by JetBlue not to charge for high-speed Wi-Fi has seen it judged as having the best overall in-flight product for personal use among US carriers.
The low-cost carrier topped a list of the seven best US carriers for in-flight Wi-Fi compiled by internet provider and service reviewer highpseedinternet.com.
Southwest came second — thanks to a combination of affordability, speed and coverage — followed by Delta, Virgin America, Alaska Airlines, American and United.
“The biggest reason JetBlue tops our rankings is because when it’s available, it comes at no extra cost, “ the website said. “JetBlue is the only airline in America that offers free in-flight Wi-Fi.
“Along with being the most affordable, JetBlue’s in-flight Wi-Fi is also among the fastest; it’s tied with Delta and Virgin America at 15 Mbps.”
While it was fast and free, JetBlue did not have the widest coverage across its fleet.
Virgin America was the only airline offering 100 per cent coverage in terms of available seat miles. It was followed by Delta (98 per cent), Southwest (90 per cent), United (85 per cent), American (80 per cent), JetBlue (78 per cent) and Alaska (75 per cent).
Speeds varied from 9.8 Mbps on Alaska, American and United to 10Mbps on Southwest and 15 Mbps on the rest.
Pricing also varied considerable from $US8 per day on Southwest to $US25 on Virgin America.
When it came to business travel, however, the table changed to reflect a lower concern about out-of-pocket costs unlikely to be footed by the user and a bigger emphasis on coverage.
For business travellers, Virgin America proved the best choice thanks to its high 15Mbps speed and 100 per cent coverage.
Delta with the same speed and 98 per cent coverage came a close second.
“If you don’t have Virgin America as an airline option, Delta is a great second choice,’’ the website said. “It offers in-flight Wi-Fi that’s just as fast as Virgin America’s and less expensive.
“The only reason it ranks behind Virgin America is because it’s not quite as available across all of Delta’s ASMs.”
Following the top two were JetBlue, Southwest, United, American and Alaska
Airlines the survey recommended net addicts should avoid were Frontier, Hawaiian and Spirit.