Free airport Wi-Fi is nearly a given across Asia, but for Indians travelling to Europe, the picture is different. A study by leading travel search engine Skyscanner revealed that less than half of Europe’s biggest airports offer free Wi-Fi on an unlimited basis, while most major airports of India provide access to free Wi-Fi, adding to the convenience of the travellers.
With holiday season around the corner, leading travel search engine Skyscanner, announced the launch of its new Wi-Fi study, listing the most internet friendly airports around the world. For travellers to Europe, Skyscanner’s Airport Wi-Fi guide highlights the amount of time that key airports provide free Wi-Fi access for travellers and the associated costs thereafter. It casts clarity on what Indian passengers travelling within the Asia region and internationally to Europe can expect from their airport Wi-Fi service.
Nearly 70% of key Asian airports offer free, unlimited Wi-Fi to passengers, including Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Tokyo, Singapore, and Hong Kong among others. It is a service Asian travellers can take nearly for granted – all main airports in Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong offer it.
With the boom in the aviation industry, the major airports of India have been developed with Wi-Fi services and other facilities resulting in convenience and easy access to the internet for millions of passengers travelling every day. Apart from Mumbai and Ahmedabad airports that offer free, unlimited and uninterrupted Wi-Fi facility to passengers, the Kolkata airport provides access to free Wi-Fi service for 30 minute sessions.
The busiest airport of the country – New Delhi IGI Airport offers free Wi-Fi for 45 minutes and charges Rs 99 for the following hour. Ranked as the world’s best airport handling 5-15 million passengers per annum, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport of Hyderabad offers 30 minutes free internet access.
However, for those travelling further afield to Europe, only 48% of the airports in the study offer unlimited Wi-Fi access, the best being Russia and Italy, where all major airports offer the service. Two airports, Berlin Tegel and Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen, offer no free Wi-Fi at all and even Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, only allows travellers 45 minutes free connection before charging £3 per hour.
According to Skyscanner’s data, Indian travellers’ most searched destinations in Asia over the past few months include New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore – all destinations offering free Wi-Fi. Indians’ most popular destinations in Europe are London, Birmingham and Paris. Paris’ main airports and Birmingham airport offer free unlimited Wi-Fi but London’s largest airports provide far less time for free.
The same survey found that 71% of travellers felt free Wi-Fi was important or extremely important and most commonly use free Wi-Fi for social media (10%), check emails (22%) or to simply pass the time (30%) as they waited for their flight.
Commenting on the guide, Skyscanner India’s Senior Marketing Manager, Kavitha Gnanamurthy said, “One to two hours early check-in for flights offers the passengers a perfect opportunity to get online. When passengers have the temptation to update their Facebook status, send out an important report, and even pay those last-minute bills, it can be very frustrating for those who want to use the internet to find they are being charged. With a push for airport infrastructure development in India, the guide also reveals that most of the Indian airports provide free Wi-Fi or with minimal charges as compared to those of Europe.”