Does IndiGo Flight Have WiFi? The Digital Dilemma at 30,000 Feet

In an era where connectivity is as essential as the air we breathe, travellers are asking whether IndiGo, Asia’s largest low-cost carrier, offers WiFi on its flights. Founded in 2006, with a whopping fleet size of 319 aircraft serving 108 destinations, IndiGo prides itself on its economical seating and no-frills service​​. But does IndiGo Flight have WiFi?

Does IndiGo Flight have WiFi?

The Short Answer: No WiFi Onboard IndiGo

To get straight to the heart of the matter, IndiGo does not offer WiFi on any of its flights. The airline’s low-cost model focuses on keeping operating costs and, by extension, ticket prices low. Adding WiFi capabilities would increase these costs significantly.​

A Glimpse into In-Flight Entertainment

IndiGo has partnered with SonyLIV to offer its passengers a unique in-flight entertainment service. Passengers can download content to their mobile phones or other personal devices by subscribing to this service in the boarding or check-in areas. This subscription grants unlimited access to SonyLIV’s premium content catalogue for seven days, allowing passengers to enjoy a wide range of entertainment options, including award-winning shows and movies, both onboard and off the flight​​.

The Broader Indian Sky

The financial hurdle of introducing WiFi aboard flights in India becomes even more pronounced when translated into the local currency. The cost of installing WiFi systems on aircraft ranges from approximately ₹1.5 crore to ₹2.25 crore per aircraft. This substantial investment, alongside the operational challenges such as increased fuel consumption due to the added weight and drag of WiFi systems, presents a significant challenge for budget airlines. For carriers operating on razor-thin margins, this investment is a question of enhancing passenger experience and a strategic financial decision impacting their bottom line.

A Market in Waiting

The Indian market’s appetite for in-flight WiFi is significant, driven by the increasing penetration of internet users and a growing inclination towards streaming services and OTT platforms. In 2022, India saw internet users estimated at nearly 650 million, with the OTT video segment alone generating around USD 2 billion in revenue. This trend underscores the rising demand for connectivity and digital entertainment among Indian air travellers​​.

The technological landscape for in-flight WiFi in India includes advancements such as the Ku-band, which is anticipated to grow remarkably. This segment’s growth is attributed to its extensive installation in aircraft, supported by more than 100 GSO (FSS) Ku-band satellites launched by ISRO for utilization in India.​

Globally, the demand for free in-flight WiFi is growing, with many passengers considering it almost as crucial as ticket price when choosing an airline. A survey by Viasat found that 83% of respondents would be more likely to rebook with an airline that offers quality onboard WiFi. Interestingly, 81% of passengers consider WiFi important to their onboard experience, highlighting the shift in passenger expectations towards digital connectivity. This demand for connectivity is not just about browsing or social media; nearly half of the surveyed passengers expressed a desire for unlimited social media access, and a significant number showed interest in online gaming and live sports streaming during flights​.

This emerging trend indicates that airlines offering free or high-quality WiFi could have a competitive advantage, attracting more customers who value connectivity and entertainment options during their flights. As the aviation industry evolves, incorporating advanced WiFi technologies and responding to passenger preferences for digital services will be crucial for airlines operating in the highly competitive Indian market and beyond.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why doesn’t IndiGo offer WiFi on its flights?

IndiGo operates on a low-cost model, and introducing WiFi would increase operating costs and ticket prices.

Can I access any form of entertainment on IndiGo flights?

Yes, IndiGo offers an in-flight entertainment option through a partnership with SonyLIV, allowing access to movies and TV shows on domestic flights for a small fee.

Are other Indian airlines offering WiFi?

The Indian aviation market is gradually adapting to in-flight WiFi, with airlines like Vistara and Air India exploring options. However, the widespread availability of WiFi across all carriers is still in the pipeline.