US airlines are still struggling to keep pace with their Asian contemporaries, and while we won't be satisfied until each and every plane that soars over this great land has an integrated router, there's no question that carriers seem to be racing to equip their fleets with in-flight WiFi. According to recent analyst reports, fewer than 10 percent of fliers are using the service, but on the other hand, one in ten fliers are. There's obviously two ways of looking at this -- in-flight WiFi is still a fledgling technology, and it's only available on around a third of domestic flights. From that perspective, a 10 percent overall usage rate looks pretty impressive. But there's no question that cost is a concern here, as is time; many fliers are using their moments in the air to actually disconnect for a change, and few corporations actually have policies in place to reimburse employees for WiFi charges accumulated in the air. Furthermore, fliers can't even use their laptops for the first and last half-hour of flights, so unless you're flying coast-to-coast, you may assume that only having an hour or so to surf just isn't worth the hassle.
We pinged Aircell (the makers of Gogo, which is by far the dominant in-flight WiFi provider in America) for comment on the linked report, and while they wouldn't comment specifically, they did confirm that they have been "thrilled" with repeat usage rates. The company's own research has found that "61 percent of Gogo customers have used it again within 3 months," which is a pretty fantastic attach rate. Now, if only it could get more people to try the service once, it may just be on its way to taking over the world. Or something. Full comment is after the break.